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Ex-Ireland boss Joe Schmidt to return to coaching with the Blues

The 56-year-old has been working with World Rugby since last year.

Schmidt during the 2019 World Cup with Ireland.
Schmidt during the 2019 World Cup with Ireland.

JOE SCHMIDT WILL return to coaching after agreeing to join the Blues as a support coach ahead of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.

The former Ireland boss has been working as World Rugby’s director of rugby and high performance since October 2020 but recently confirmed he will leave that role at the end of this year in order to spend more time with his family.

Schmidt has now been announced as a support coach for the Blues on a part-time basis ahead of their 2022 campaign.

The 56-year-old has been mentoring Blues head coach Leon McDonald over the past year and will now formally link with the Auckland-based franchise as part of their coaching team following the departure of Tana Umaga.

It marks a return to the Blues for Schmidt, who was previously an assistant coach for the franchise from 2004 until 2007 when he moved to Clermont in France.

Schmidt subsequently enjoyed great success with Leinster and Ireland, helping the former to two Heineken Cups and winning a Grand Slam and two further Six Nations titles with the latter.

His Ireland tenure ended in disappointment at the 2019 World Cup, with Schmidt announcing that he was retiring from coaching after that campaign.

However, he is now set to return with the Blues, who have also confirmed the addition of former Boyne RFC coach Craig McGrath as their new defence specialist.

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“I’m really looking forward to coming back and helping out the coaching staff at the Blues,” said Schmidt.

“I know pretty much the whole crew and it’s a nice fit stepping in for Tana, who I greatly respect. 

“I have really enjoyed getting to know Leon. He is doing a great job and has got the team in a really good place after their success this year. I’ve also got a lot of time for Ice [McGrath] and look forward to linking up with him again.”

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