New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has confirmed that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt turned down an approach to join the All Blacks coaching ticket late last year.
Tew told the New Zealand Herald that Schmidt was approached with an offer to replace Wayne Smith in the All Blacks set-up and work alongside long-time assistant Ian Foster.
Schmidt and Foster would then have been in contention to take over from present head coach Steve Hansen when he steps down.
Schmidt decided to stay with Ireland, signing a two-year deal to take him through to the end of next year’s World Cup in Japan.
The 53-year-old announced at the end of the November series, during which Ireland beat the All Blacks, that he will finish coaching at the end of the World Cup to “prioritise family commitments”.
Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell will take over from Schmidt after the World Cup.