Leinster’s head coach Joe Schmidt has just been confirmed as the new head coach of Ireland rugby.
The Kiwi coach has long been the favourite to take over after Declan Kidney stood down after Ireland’s disappointing six nations campaign this year. Schmidt joins with an impressive coaching record having worked as backs coach at French top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne before joining Leinster as head coach in 2010 where he led the club to back-to-back Heineken Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2012.
This season Schmidt has led the club to an Amlin cup final and the Pro 12 play-off’s, but he is now set to leave the province to take on what he claims is one of the biggest jobs in world rugby. Currently Ireland’s defence coach Les Kiss is expected to lead the team on this summers tour although today’s announcement could see Schmidt take over as soon as his club commitments are fulfilled for this season.
Schmidt was many peoples favourite to take on the job having performed so impressively with Leinster in recent seasons. His brand of exciting attacking rugby has made Leinster one of the most attractive teams to watch in Europe, however this has been coupled with great results that will be sure to endear him to the Irish public right away. With young stars like Simon Zebo, Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall coming through the Irish rugby academy system Schmidt seems the ideal man to make the most of their undoubted talents. I for one am looking forward to watching Ireland play under Schmidt.
There will be a full press conference you can follow on irishrugby.ie at 4pm today.