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Joe Schmidt has signed a new contract with the IRFU

The New Zealand native will stay on as Ireland head coach until 2017.

JOE SCHMIDT HAS signed a contract extension with Ireland that runs until 2017.

Joe Schmidt Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The IRFU have confirmed the new deal with the New Zealand native, who has been in charge of Ireland since 2013. This new contract means Schmidt will remain on as Ireland head coach until 30 June, 2017.

His previous contract had been set to expire in the spring of 2016.

Ireland have won back-to-back Six Nations titles under Schmidt and are now preparing for this year’s World Cup with a degree of confidence.

Schmidt first moved to Ireland in 2010 to join Leinster as head coach, guiding the province to two Heineken Cup wins, as well as Pro12 and Challenge Cup titles. His success with Leinster convinced the IRFU that he was the man to succeed Declan Kidney in charge of the national team.

The Kiwi and his family are understood to be very happy with life in Ireland, perhaps another of the reasons he has committed to a new deal.

I appreciate the support I have had from the IRFU and look forward to the next two challenging years with the National Team,” said Schmidt.

“It has been great to be involved in such a player-driven environment, along with such a skilled and positive staff to support them in their quest to be as competitive as possible.”

Meanwhile, the IRFU’s Performance Director, David Nucifora, expressed his pleasure at negotiations having been concluded:

“We believe that Joe is one of the leading coaches in world rugby so we are delighted that he has extended his contract and will continue to work in Irish Rugby until the end of the 2016/17 season,” said Nucifora.

Paul O'Connell Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“Outside of his national team duties, Joe has contributed to the development of indigenous coaches across the provincial and underage structures as well as having a positive input into the Ireland U20s and Women’s squads.”

IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne also welcomed the confirmation:

Joe embodies the core values of the IRFU in what he does and his commitment to the national team is mirrored by his support of Rugby clubs and schools.

“He is a tremendous ambassador for our game and will continue to be a vital asset to Irish Rugby over the coming years.”

Schmidt has been linked with an eventual return to New Zealand, while he has also been suggested as the possible coach of the Lions tour to his native country in 2017.

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Murray Kinsella

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