Signing of the season: Leinster tie up Joe Schmidt until summer 2014

A one-year extension is superb business for the European champions but should rule the Kiwi out of the running for the Ireland job.

Joe Schmidt will stay at Leinster until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Joe Schmidt will stay at Leinster until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER HAVE SIGNED coach Joe Schmidt to a one-year extension to his deal and will remain with the province until the end of the 2013/14 campaign.

The European champions announced the deal on Friday morning, a day ahead of their Pro12 test against Munster at the Aviva Stadium.

Schmidt, 46, has led the province to back-to-back Heineken Cup triumphs as well as runners up position in each of the last two Grand Finals since joining from ASM Clermont Auvergne fresh from securing the Bouclier de Brennus in the summer of 2010.

The New Zealander said he was delighted to sign the contract extension. He added:

I’m lucky to be part of such a positive coaching team and to have the top quality support staff we have. The professionalism of the players is a real asset and they constantly challenge themselves and each other to improve, which makes them a great group to coach.

“The wider Leinster community have really made my family and I feel welcome here and we have been fortunate to have enjoyed some memorable success on the field.

“Let’s hope that with continued hard work – and a bit of luck – that there will be more bright days ahead.”

An outstanding leader

Commenting on the new deal, Leinster Rugby Chief Executive Michael Dawson is looking forward to the next two seasons with Schmidt in charge. He commented:

Since arriving from France he has overseen and led a period of great growth and success for Leinster, both on and off the field.

“Joe is an outstanding leader and ambassador for the province and he continues to cultivate strong values within our organisation. I know that this news will be welcomed by our loyal following across the province and beyond.”

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The news, while extremely positive for Ireland, effectively rules Schmidt out of the running for the Ireland post.

Current coach Declan Kidney’s contract expires following next year’s Six Nations and many rugby supporters, and pundits, held hopes that the Kiwi would take up the running of the national team.

In an upcoming Irish Examiner interview with Donal Lenihan, Schmidt said, “I’d be flattered if they (the IRFU) thought I had something to offer, but I’ve got a super playing and management staff at Leinster.”

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Patrick McCarry

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