Joe Schmidt to step down from World Rugby role

The former Ireland head coach is leaving the position so he can spend more time with his family.

Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

WORLD RUGBY HAVE announced that former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will step down from his position with the organisation at the end of the year in order to spend more time with his family.

Schmidt joined World Rugby as Director of Rugby and High Performance in October 2020, an influential and wide-ranging role which included working closely on advancements in player welfare, law changes, and overseeing the management of match officials.

However the New Zealander has now decided to leave the role so he can spend more time at home with his family. He will continue to reside in New Zealand rather than relocate to Ireland, where World Rugby’s offices are based.

A statement from World Rugby outlined that Schmidt will continue to work with the organisation as a member of the High Performance Rugby Committee and Laws Review Group.

“World Rugby have a challenging task bringing together a vast array of stakeholders to grow and future proof the game, particularly with the pandemic creating further complications,” Schmidt said.

“I’d like to thank the World Rugby staff for their support and positivity during the past 12 months. There is a real passion amongst them to help the game be all it can be for everyone involved and I have enjoyed my time as part of the team, working in partnership with unions, regions and competitions.

“We have worked very hard in a number of areas, including player welfare initiatives, remaining agile with fixture changes and match officials, law trials, competitions and the support of emerging nations where the Pacific Islands Super Rugby franchises are a good example of some excellent collaborative work.

“I am disappointed to be leaving World Rugby, but look forward to continuing an association with them through the High Performance Rugby Committee and other key working groups.” 

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added: “While we are sad to be losing Joe, we fully support his reasons and appreciate the strong contributions that he has made to the organisation and the game over the last year.

“His passion for the advancement of the game is tremendous and we are delighted that his expertise and experience will remain at the heart of game-related decision-making as a member of the High Performance Rugby Committee.”

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During his time as Ireland head coach, Schmidt guided the team to three Six Nations title and the 2018 Grand Slam. He also won a Pro12 title and two Heineken Cups during a three year spell in charge of Leinster.

Originally published at 09.49

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Ciarán Kennedy

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