Schmidt confirmed as new Ireland coach
April 29, 2013
Kiwi-born Joe Schmidt looks set to fill the void left by Declan Kidney © Getty Images
The Irish Rugby Football Union have confirmed that Leinster coach Joe Schmidt will succeed Declan Kidney as Ireland boss.
The Kiwi-born Schmidt, who will be officially unveiled later today in Dublin, is thought to have put pen to paper on a three-year contract until the end of the 2015-16 season that would include the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 Six Nations.
Schmidt, who has led Leinster to two Heineken Cups, was interviewed by the IRFU earlier this month and appears to have got the nod over Ireland's current attack coach Les Kiss and Reds coach Ewen McKenzie while Brumbies coach Jake White recently revealed he rebuffed an approach.
"It's an honour to be selected as the Ireland team coach," said Schmidt, who will begin work on July 1 leaving interim manager Les Kiss to take charge for the forthcoming tour of the USA and Canada as planned. "I'm very conscious of the responsibilities that go with the position and look forward to working alongside the players in an effort to meet those responsibilities through the quality of our performance.
"I certainly appreciate the prompt and professional handling of the selection process by the IRFU, especially with regard to my current coaching commitment in Leinster, which I will continue to prioritise over the coming weeks."
The IRFU opted not to renew Kidney's contract following a disappointing Six Nations campaign that saw his side narrowly avoid the wooden spoon. The highlight of his five-year reign was a famous Grand Slam triumph in 2009 but since that notable achievement they have won only 16 of 40 Tests and have slipped to their lowest ever world ranking of ninth.
"The IRFU is delighted to announce Joe Schmidt as Ireland coach following a process which, in the best interests of Irish rugby, allowed us to examine a variety of options and ultimately ensure we secured a world-class coach and undoubtedly the ideal person for the position," said IRFU chief executive Philip Browne.
"Joe has already delivered significant success to Irish rugby during his time with Leinster and we are confident that this will continue at international level. We thank all of those who were involved in this appointment, particularly our colleagues in Leinster, for allowing us the time and space to meet with and ultimately appoint Joe as Ireland coach."
Leinster, who booked an Amlin Challenge Cup final date with a Stade Francais with a commanding 44-16 victory over Biarritz on Saturday, are understood to be in advanced negotiations with Schmidt's successor - current Leicester coach Matt O'Connor.
O'Connor, capped once by the Wallabies against Ireland in 1994, made his name as backs coach with the Brumbies and took over the head coaching role at the Tigers from Heyneke Meyer in June 2010. He has since worked under director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
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