Joe Schmidt nominated for prestigious New Zealand award while Steve Hansen is omitted
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been nominated for the Halberg Award for coach of the year.
The Halberg Awards are a set of awards given annually recognising New Zealand's top sporting achievements and was started in 1949 by NZ Sportsman magazine founder Jack Fairburn.
Schmidt is one of three rugby coaches nominated for the award alongside Clark Laidlaw (coach of the All Blacks Sevens) and Allan Bunting (coach of the Black Ferns Sevens) while New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has been omitted.
Hansen is a two-time recipient of the award having won in both 2013 and again in 2015 while New Zealand World Cup winning coach Graham Henry also won the award in both 2006 and 2011.
Schmidt's nomination is rare given the fact that he's based overseas in comparison to Henry and Hansen who were both coaching the All Blacks when they received the award.
Schmidt was heavily linked with the top job in New Zealand after next year's Rugby World Cup but he announced last month that he would step away from coaching after the tournament.
Schmidt will be replaced by current defence coach, Andy Farrell, after Ireland's involvement in Japan 2019 comes to an end.
Farrell has been with the Irish team since 2016 and is highly thought of by players and fans alike.