Ireland hold onto Schmidt
NEWS: New Zealander Joe Schmidt will stay on as Ireland head coach up to the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed.
Appointed in 2013, Schmidt has been involved in a period of sustained success and achievement with the Irish national team. Back to back Six Nations Championships were secured in 2014 and 2015, a first Test series win in the Southern Hemisphere was recorded in Argentina in 2014 and a first ever Test victory on South African soil was achieved in Cape Town in June this year.
Since taking over the head coach position in November 2013, Schmidt has capped 71 players including 26 new caps.
"Joe is one of the leading coaches in world rugby and it is fantastic for Irish rugby that he has committed until the end of the World Cup cycle," said David Nucifora IRFU Performance Director.
"We have a talented group of coaches and Joe has been central to attracting coaching talent and driving success with the national team."
Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive,added: "The IRFU is delighted to confirm that Joe will continue through to the next World Cup. Since coming to Ireland he has made a huge contribution to Irish rugby at provincial and national level and also actively supports our clubs across the four provinces."
Schmidt said their were positive signs in Irish rugby at the moment.
"I'd like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated.
"It is difficult at times being so far away from extended family but we appreciate how lucky we are to have the support we have here in Ireland.
"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie.
"The wider community has made us welcome and as a family we have benefitted immensely from their support.
"Looking forward there are positive signs with the Under-20 finalists at the Junior World Championships this year, the provinces topping three of the five European Champions Cup pools as well as Ulster and Leinster sharing the lead of the Pro12 at present.
"With the end-of-year series about to begin, facing a dominant New Zealand team along with Canada and Australia is going to be a tremendous challenge."