Joe Schmidt is set to announce whether or not he will remain head coach of Ireland tomorrow as speculation of the Kiwi's return to New Zealand after next year's Rugby World Cup continues to mount.

After watching Ireland thrash the USA 57-14 at Dublin's Aviva Stadium to complete a clean sweep in the November internationals, including a historic win over the All Blacks last weekend, Schmidt was probed about his future with the second world-ranked side.

Suggesting that he had already made a final decision, Schmidt was coy about dropping any hints but reassured that he didn't intend to muck anyone around.

"Yea, look, it's very close," Schmidt told RTE Rugby. "I'm going to take some time tomorrow, because, as I said, it's been a really busy week. We were flat out trying to put this group together so that takes every bit of your spare time.

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"I don't want to muck people around and I'm really conscious of trying to give everyone clarity.

"I guess on Monday, yea, we'll make a decision."

Schmidt, who has led Ireland to three Six Nations titles in five years, has been identified as a leading candidate to replace Steve Hansen - given the current All Blacks head coach confirms his suspected post-World Cup departure.

Earlier this week, Schmidt dropped what has been argued as the biggest hint about his rugby future with the All Blacks.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen will make a decision on his future in the role before Christmas. Photo / Getty
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen will make a decision on his future in the role before Christmas. Photo / Getty

The Irish Times

reported that the Kiwi coach's quotes and emotions in the press conference before Ireland's clash with the USA were potentially telling.

"That it's been "a long time coming" is most likely a reference to having considered ending his tenure before," argued the Times.

"One can only deduce that the decision has, to a large degree, already been made, and it's assuredly more likely that a decision to end his time as Ireland coach and his family's time in Ireland would make him more emotional than if he and they had decided to stay."