Paris - Two-time European Cup-winning coach Joe Schmidt told AFP on Tuesday he was hopeful he would be named the new Ireland coach after Leinster allowed him to speak to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) last week.
The New Zealander - who guided Leinster to the 2011 and 2012 European Cups - was one of four candidates who were interviewed by the IRFU to replace Declan Kidney, who was sacked last month after a poor Six Nations.
Schmidt, who came to Leinster from French giants Clermont where, as assistant to Vern Cotter, he helped steer them to their first ever French title in 2010, said it was now in the IRFU's hands as to whether he got the nod.
"Of course the job interests me, otherwise I wouldn't have gone to see the federation," he told AFP by phone.
"After that we have to wait and see because I had signed a year's extension to my contract with Leinster.
"They (the Leinster board) gave me permission to speak with the IRFU. If I still interest the IRFU, then maybe something can happen with the national team."
According to the Irish press an announcement could be made this week and Schmidt is the favourite.
Kidney, who guided Ireland to the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam and the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals, has been temporarily replaced by Australian Les Kiss.