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How Mullingar helped shape Joe Schmidt, the Kiwi planning defeat of the All Blacks this week

The Ireland boss got his first taste of Irish rugby playing in the midlands in the 1990s.

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

This post is part of The42′s Facing History series, supported by Cadbury Boost. To read more, click here.

LONG BEFORE THE Ireland or Leinster job, Joe Schmidt got his introduction to Irish rugby as a young Kiwi playing in Mullingar.

The national head coach left New Zealand in the 1990s and joined Mullingar RFC as a player/coach where he made a huge impression.

A high school teacher back home, Schmidt brought a different style of coaching to Mullingar; a technical, ball-in-hand approach that hadn’t been seen in the midlands’ club before.

“He made everything simple, but to us it was groundbreaking”, said friend and former teammate, Dave Farrelly.

“If you needed a kick in the arse, you got it. If you needed an arm around the shoulder, you got it.”

Fast-forward 20-odd years, and Schmidt is attempting to be the first Irish head coach to beat New Zealand in 28 attempts.

As part of our Facing History series, we spoke to his former teammates in Mullingar, and one-time colleague in Tauranga Boys’ High School in New Zealand about the man himself as he attempts to make history.
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Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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