Joe Schmidt plays down rumours of coaching the Lions in South Africa

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will leave his role after the World Cup later this year. Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said he is not available for the British & Irish Lions if offered the job tomorrow, but has left the door ajar for a role in the future.

Schmidt will leave Ireland after the World Cup and previously said he would "finish coaching". But highly-rated coach Schmidt, speaking at the 2019 Six Nations launch, said he would take a spell out from the sport and then reassess.

"I hadn't made too many plans but the short term plan is not to be involved in coaching, certainly not for 12 months and I'd say quite likely longer than that," Schmidt said.

"We've got a couple of projects that are family-related that we want to work our way through.

"And I don't spend a lot of time at home already so I think it's probably high time I did."

And asked about leading the Lions to South Africa in 2021, Schmidt answered: "I wouldn't be available if asked at the moment."

"I said to my wife that we'd get these 12 months done and she said, 'Yeah, look, you'll last 12 days, potentially, without needing to do something'.

"And I wouldn't say that I'm looking to do any coaching so it's not something that's at the forefront of my mind.

"I think one of the things I decided in probably a conversation with myself, for want of a better word, is that whatever does happen after that, I want to make sure these next 10 months are as good as I can help the players be and put as much effort into that.

"And so I think that's where your energies go.

"So I'm kind of looking forward to having 12 months where I can just invest that energy in one direction and also not have a daily itinerary or a weekly plan that says this is how you fill your time...and it is very well filled, I'd have to say!"