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Joe Schmidt to leave Ireland post-World Cup, Andy Farrell to take over

The 53-year-old New Zealander is set to step away from coaching altogether.

THE IRFU HAS confirmed that Joe Schmidt will leave his position as Ireland head coach after the 2019 World Cup.

Current assistant coach Andy Farrell will be promoted to succeed Schmidt at that point, having signed a contract to lead Ireland through to the 2023 World Cup.

Schmidt has indicated that he will step away from rugby coaching altogether after leaving his role with Ireland, as he looks to “prioritise family commitments.”

Joe Schmidt with Andy Farrell Schmidt will be succeeded by current assistant coach Farrell. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Schmidt has been in charge of Ireland since 2013, leading them to a Grand Slam, two other Six Nations titles, their first two wins over the All Blacks, a series success in Australia, two consecutive November clean sweeps, and a first-ever win against the Springboks on South African soil.

He will hope to finish his reign strongly, with another Six Nations success and by guiding Ireland beyond the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever in Japan next year. 

“I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019,” said Schmidt of his decision.

“I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.

“Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland.

“There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there’s plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible.”

Farrell, formerly an assistant coach with England, is now set to fill Schmidt’s shoes after the 2019 World Cup.

“It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role,” said Farrell.

Andy Farrell Farrell joined Ireland as defence coach in 2016. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019.”

The IRFU’s Philip Browne and David Nucifora both paid glowing tribute to the work Schmidt has done in Ireland, while also indicating their happiness to have Farrell stepping up into the head coach role post-2019.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a coach of the calibre of Andy Farrell in Irish rugby,” said Nucifora.

“He has proven through his work ethic and success with Ireland and the Lions over the last number of years that he is the person to take Irish rugby forward after RWC 2019.

“The close working relationship that our current coaching group have and what they will continue to gain over the next year with Joe still at the helm leaves Andy and Irish rugby in the enviable position of having continuity before building the road forward.

“This appointment provides certainty and continuity beyond RWC19 with Andy leading the coaching group through the next World Cup cycle to the 2023 tournament in France.

“The coaching group are contracted beyond next year’s World Cup which again provides continuity for the players ahead of the 2020 6 Nations Championship.”

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Murray Kinsella

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