Joe Schmidt to finish coaching after the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019

Andy Farrell will take over as Irish head coach after the tournament.

Joe Schmidt has today announced that he will finish coaching following the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year. Andy Farrell will become head coach after the tournament.

Speaking about his decision to finish coaching Joe Schmidt said: “”I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019.

I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.

Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland.

There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there’s plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible.”

Joe was appointed Ireland head coach ahead of the 2013 Guinness Series and has overseen the most successful period in the national team’s history winning three Six Nations titles (2014, 2015) including a Grand Slam (2018), a first win on South African soil (2016), a first win over New Zealand (2016) and a series win in Australia (2018).

Two unbeaten records have also been set during this period with a 12 game unbeaten run straddling the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons and a record 12 consecutive home victories achieved from November 2016 to November 2018.

Joe has utilised 99 players and capped 54 new Ireland internationals over the 62 games that he has been in charge to date achieving a 74% win ratio. Ireland have also attained their highest ever world ranking (No.2) under his watch.

Yesterday Joe was named World Rugby Coach of the Year for 2018 and Ireland were named World Rugby Team of the Year.

Philip Browne, IRFU CEO, commented, “I would like to thank Joe, and his family, on behalf of the IRFU Union Committee, all the staff of Irish Rugby and every rugby supporter, for everything he has done for the game in Ireland.

Joe has travelled to clubs throughout the country, assisted with our sponsor programme and attended a huge number of charity events, helping to raise vital funding for those who need it most.

Sport has the ability to lift people out of the day-to-day concerns of life and Joe, and his team, have provided historic moments of great joy, that will live long in the memories of everyone in the rugby family.

Of course, this is not yet the end, and we look forward an exciting and challenging 11 months for Irish Rugby during Joe’s final Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

On a personal level, I would like to thank Joe for his warmth, his time, honesty and his genuine interest in everything that we do in Irish Rugby to grow the game.”

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director commented, “Joe’s contribution to Irish rugby is broader than just the success achieved with the national team. He has had a hugely positive influence on the entire professional system with both his rugby intellect and his eagerness to invest in and develop both players and coaches throughout the country.

In conversations with Joe you got a clear sense that this was a very tough decision for him knowing how much he enjoys working with this group of coaches and players but it is a decision that Joe, Kelly and the kids have made as a family and that is to be respected.

The next 11 months will include a really competitive 6 Nations and a World Cup campaign with Joe driving the standards that this group have demanded of themselves over the past 5 years. Regardless of what happens on the pitch over this period of time we are all clearly aware and thankful of the better place that Joe will be leaving Irish Rugby in post the Rugby World Cup.”

The IRFU have announced that following Rugby World Cup 2019 Andy Farrell will become Ireland head coach.

Andy Farrell commented, “It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role. I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019.”

Joe Schmidt commented, “The coaches have been fantastic to work with and Andy has made a big impact since coming into the group. His ability to lead and his understanding of the game will ensure that the group will continue to move forward.”

Andy joined the Ireland coaching group in 2016 ahead of the Summer Tour of South Africa. He is a key figure in Joe Schmidt’s successful backroom team which has seen a number of milestones achieved. (2018 Grand Slam, 1st victory in SA, 1st victory over NZ, Series win in Australia)

Before joining the Ireland set-up Andy coached with England (2012-2015) and English Premiership side Saracens. He has coached on the two most recent successful Lions tours which produced a series win in Australia and a drawn series in New Zealand.

Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive, commented “We are delighted to have secured Andy as in-coming Head Coach. As part of Joe’s management team Andy has already helped to deliver huge performances and I know he will continue to inspire our players for years to come. Andy has world class coaching credentials and we are pleased to have a roadmap for an orderly transition post Rugby World Cup to the 2019 Six Nations.”

David Nucifora, IRFU High Performance Director, commented “We are incredibly fortunate to have a coach of the calibre of Andy Farrell in Irish Rugby. He has proven through his work ethic and success with Ireland and the Lions over the last number of years that he is the person to take Irish Rugby forward after RWC 2019. The close working relationship that our current coaching group have and what they will continue to gain over the next year with Joe still at the helm leaves Andy and Irish Rugby in the enviable position of having continuity before building the road forward.

This appointment provides certainty and continuity beyond RWC19 with Andy leading the coaching group through the next World Cup cycle to the 2023 tournament in France. The coaching group are contracted beyond next year’s World Cup which again provides continuity for the players ahead of the 2020 6 Nations Championship.”

Stephen Byrne

Stephen Byrne is the Head of Sport and News in KCLR96FM. He's an avid rugby fan and can be seen frequenting Leinster and local clubs games. He loves his GAA too and is a former hurler and footballer and stood between the posts for his home club of Kiltegan for many years. He's also a Man U fan for his troubles and shouts for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
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