Reports in France suggest Joe Schmidt is being lined up as the next England coach 5 years ago

Reports in France suggest Joe Schmidt is being lined up as the next England coach

We’re more than a little sceptical about this.

A report in French newspaper Midi Olympique has suggested that Joe Schmidt is being lined up to replace Stuart Lancaster as coach of the England rugby team.

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England’s failure to get out of the pool stages at their home World Cup has prompted questions about Lancaster’s future, despite the fact that he is tied into a contract with the RFU until 2020.

Lancaster was warned that his position and those of his coaching staff would be reviewed if England failed to live up to expectations at the World Cup.

Considering that they fell dramatically short in that regard, he is coming under increasing pressure in the England hot seat.

2015 Rugby World Cup Group A, Twickenham, London, England 3/10/2015 England vs Australia England head coach Stuart Lancaster before the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

The Midi Olympique report (subscription required) suggests that the England job would be a step up for Schmidt, somehow overlooking the fact that Ireland are looking forward to a World Cup quarter-final this weekend and are back-to-back Six Nations Champions.

Former South African boss Jake White and Japan coach Eddie Jones are also thought to be in the frame, but Schmidt is believed to be the man at the top of the RFU’s wish-list.

Far be it from us to accuse the French media of stirring the pot, but it seems strangely coincidental that a report about the future of the Irish coach would appear in a French publication in the same week as the fairly nasty fall-out from the incident involving Sean O’Brien and Pascal Papé last Sunday.

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We’re sure it’s just a coincidence.