Former All Blacks head coach Ian Foster and his assistant Joe Schmidt are reportedly headlining the shortlist to take over at Montpellier.
Foster’s tenure in charge of the All Blacks came to an end following New Zealand’s 12-11 loss to the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup final.
Ian Foster on Montpellier’s shortlist
He will be replaced by former Crusaders boss Scott Robertson in 2024 and revealed that he had been approached for coaching positions after the World Cup.
However, he insisted that he would not enter talks until after the tournament.
“I had a couple of options before the World Cup that I basically said, if you want to talk to me, you have to wait till after the World Cup.”
Now it is being reported that a move to France is on the cards, and his All Blacks assistant Schmidt could rival him for the role.
Montpellier have just revealed a coaching re-structuring with Bernard Laporte (director of rugby) and Patrice Collazo (head coach) arriving at the club with Richard Cockerill departing.
However, this is viewed as a short-term fix, with Collazo notably only offered an 18-month contract with the club in order to help the side recover from losing six of their opening seven Top 14 fixtures and avoid relegation.
According to Midi Libre, Montpellier have not given up on the idea of recruiting former Ireland head coach Schmidt or ex-All Black coach Foster.
The publication notes that Schmidt is the club management’s top priority but adds that Foster is also mentioned on the shortlist.
It is unclear if the pair would both be recruited or whether it is the one or the other, but Schmidt, who is highly regarded in France, is the side’s primary target.
Joe Schmidt’s coaching career
Schmidt coached Clermont between 2007 and 2010 before heading to Leinster, where he won back-to-back Champions Cup titles and a PRO12 trophy before taking over as Ireland head coach from Declan Kidney.
After six years, three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams and leading Ireland at two Rugby World Cups, Schmidt stepped down from his role.
He returned to New Zealand, where he worked in a technical advisor role with World Rugby and had a coaching job with the Blues before linking up with the All Blacks under Foster.
Schmidt has been linked with multiple head coach positions since leaving Ireland in 2019 and was reportedly offered an extension with the All Blacks after the 2023 World Cup despite Foster’s departure, but he turned New Zealand Rugby down.
Foster has also been tipped as a potential replacement for Eddie Jones at the Wallabies.