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Joe Schmidt named as new Ireland head coach

The New Zealander was officially confirmed to the new role by the IRFU today.

Joe Schmidt observes a Leinster training session.
Joe Schmidt observes a Leinster training session.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

THE IRFU HAS confirmed that Joe Schmidt will be the head coach to lead Ireland towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

The double Heineken Cup-winning boss will face the media at 4pm this afternoon at the Aviva Stadium.

Former Ireland and Leinster hooker Shane Byrne told TheScore.ie, that Schmidt is the right man for the job. “From a Leinster point of view, I’m disappointed that he is leaving but, speaking as an Irish rugby supporter, I’m delighted,”  Byrne said.

Schmidt will not want to follow on with the old practices of the IRFU, their committee meetings and board approvals of tactics. He’ll bring some fresh ideas to the job. Ireland have lots of very talented players and Schmidt will bring that something different to the coaching set-up. The old coaching structure had just passed its sell-by-date.

“Schmidt, as you can see with players like Brian O’Driscoll, is constantly challenging them personally to become better players and to keep pushing themselves.”

Speaking to TheScore.ie this week, former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll was effusive in his praise of the man who has coached him at Leinster for the past three seasons. The decision to appoint Schmidt may see the centre delay plans to retire from the sport after this summer’s British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

“There’s no secret about how much I admire Joe as a coach,” O’Driscoll said. “He has been fantastic for us these last few years and really rejuvenated me as a player. I learned an awful lot under his tutelage. We’ll wait and see, nationally, what the decision is and makes calls over the next couple of months.”

Former Munster and Ireland flanker David Wallace said, “He’s a very likeable guy and gets results on the pitch. Talking to the Leinster players, he has a great rapport with them and has an excellent coaching style.

“He’s no walkover, though, even though he’s a nice guy off the pitch. This is a big step up and there will be an increased media spotlight on everything he does.

“I was amazed by the development of Leinster’s passing game after he took over. When he came on-board he said he wanted to make them the best passing team in Europe and after two-thirds of the season it was evident that his style was starting to take hold.

“He uses the breakdown as an attacking platform and you can see they are well drilled there as they have lots of plays in and around the ruck, with scrum-halves and back-rows running off them.”

“His teams play an enjoyable style but a winning style,” Wallace added.

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Patrick McCarry

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