Joe Schmidt to stand down as Ireland coach after 2019 World Cup.

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  1. Swami

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    Andy Farrell to replace Joe Schmidt as Ireland coach after World Cup

    Farrell joined Schmidt's coaching team in 2016 ahead of the summer tour of South Africa
    Joe Schmidt is to stand down as Ireland's head coach after the 2019 World Cup and will be replaced by current defence coach Andy Farrell.

    Schmidt, 53, said he had decided to finish coaching and focus on family commitments.

    He has been with Ireland since 2013 and this year guided them to their third Grand Slam and a first victory on home soil over New Zealand.

    "I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands," said Schmidt.

    "The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but wherever we have travelled, has been uplifting."

    Farrell, 43, joined the Ireland set-up in April 2016 as defence coach, having previously had a four-year spell as England assistant coach.

    The father of current England international Owen Farrell, he was a dual code player who won eight England caps after switching from rugby league to union.

    Before his role as assistant with England, Farrell coached Aviva Premiership side Saracens. He was also a defence coach for the 2013 series-winning British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

    Farrell has 'learned a lot' from Schmidt
    Joe Schmidt has guided Ireland to two wins over the All Blacks
    "It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role," he said.

    "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."

    Schmidt, who had been tipped as a likely successor to New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, backed the appointment of Farrell as his successor.

    "The coaches have been fantastic to work with and Andy has made a big impact since coming into the group," the Kiwi said.

    "His ability to lead and his understanding of the game will ensure that the group will continue to move forward."

    Schmidt masterminds wins over All Blacks
    Schmidt, who led Ireland to Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015 as well as 2018, has masterminded both of Ireland's victories over New Zealand, including the 16-9 win in Dublin earlier this month.

    He also guided his team from eighth to second in the world rankings in five years at the helm.

    Ireland reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 World Cup during Schmidt's tenure but will hope to reach at least the last four for the first time in 2019.

    Schmidt leaves Ireland in a better place - Kearney
    Schmidt said last week that he had been "beating myself up about a decision that's been a long time coming".

    "I know I can't continue to go backwards and forwards. The family I have probably committed most to is this family that I live with in Carton House [Ireland's training base] as much as it is the family I have at home.

    "So we've put our heads together and tried to reconcile how we can best, maybe, cater for both."

    'Massive effect' on Irish rugby - O'Connell
    Before Monday's announcement, former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell said the Irish Rugby Football Union should make it "financially irresponsible" for Schmidt to leave his post.

    "His coaching style and philosophy is filtering down into all the provinces," O'Connell told Matt Dawson's Rugby Show on BBC Radio 5live.

    "It's filtering down into schools and into underage rugby. It's having a massive effect on Irish rugby in general.

    "So it's not just the results he delivers with the national team that mean the IRFU gets great value when they pay him whatever they pay him, it's the effect he seems to be having further down the game as well."

    Ireland celebrated what was their third Grand Slam victory in March
    Chris Jones, BBC Sport rugby union correspondent

    Since taking over five years ago, Schmidt's impact on Irish rugby has been seismic, with the one blemish being the deflating quarter-final exit at the World Cup in 2015 - something he will be desperate to remedy at next year's tournament in Japan.

    Schmidt had been talked about as the next All Blacks boss, but says instead he will step away from coaching because of family commitments, leaving Ian Foster as the clear favourite to succeed Steve Hansen.

    Andy Farrell's appointment as Schmidt's successor is also hugely significant. Sacked by England in 2015, his coaching resurrection is now complete - with this news quashing any chance of a return to Twickenham in the near future.

  2. Swami

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    Joe Schmidt: Out-going coach's lasting legacy on Irish rugby

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    Joe Schmidt is known as a demanding taskmaster in training
    Three Six Nations titles, a Grand Slam, a first victory in South Africa, two wins over New Zealand and a first series win over Australia in 39 years.

    Joe Schmidt's achievements with Ireland are clearly impressive but they fail to tell the full story of how much he has transformed Irish rugby since he first arrived at Leinster in 2010.

    In his first head coaching role, he nurtured the career of Johnny Sexton and led the province to consecutive European Cup wins before transferring that success to the Test arena.

    Leinster's continued success, and the conveyor belt of talent running through their academy system, has powered Schmidt's Irish team from eighth to second place in the world rankings and they could yet topple the All Blacks from their perch during next year's Six Nations championship.

    The success of the men's national team under Schmidt has raised hopes that Ireland could finally break through the World Cup quarter-final barrier that has proved impossible to overcome in the past - including in 2015 when the New Zealander had already been in charge for two years.

    Rory Best has been Ireland captain under Schmidt since 2016
    A legendary attention to detail
    "Joe's legacy in Ireland will obviously be the trophies he's won with Leinster and with Ireland but probably more so it will potentially be the coaches that he brings through," Ireland captain Rory Best told BBC Radio 5 live's Rugby Union Weekly.

    "When you look at what he's done, you'd like to think that in the next couple of years there'll be coaches that have worked under Joe Schmidt as players that will come through and who will bring that attention to detail, that drive to be the best in the world, and they'll bring that into the club came in Ireland.

    "Ultimately the goal is to get as many home grown coaches as we can within the provinces, the national team and the whole set-up."

    Schmidt's attention to detail and the demands he makes of his coaches and players is legendary but it is matched by the workload he performs himself.

    So it probably should not have come as a surprise that the 53-year-old plans to end his coaching career and spend more time with his family when he eventually steps down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    He will inevitably be linked with the New Zealand job in the future but he has already done more than his share to promote the sport in his adopted homeland.

    "The fantastic thing about Joe is that he's leaving Irish rugby in a much better place," added full-back Rob Kearney.

    "He'll commit to making sure that there's a contingency plan that he's breeding new coaches that come in and ensure that this Irish team is going to continue to try and be competitive at the very top level.

    "Is there another Joe Schmidt out there? Probably not and I think as an Irish rugby team we've really been blessed to have been able to have his services over the last five to six years."

    Matt Dawson's Rugby Show on BBC Radio 5 live.

    "He's able to create a group of guys that just fit in whenever they go in to play. He has a very simple way of playing, a very simple way of preparing teams and if you give real clarity to very smart, good rugby players they can be excellent rugby players.

    "Everyone knows where they should be at any one time and it's quite difficult to know your own role - that was my experience when I first started playing with Joe Schmidt, it was very hard to know where I was supposed to be at all times."

    Ireland coaches (l-r) Andy Farrell, Greg Feek, Joe Schmidt, Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy
    Fuelled by two Grand Slam wins in nine years as well as the Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015, rugby's popularity has exploded in Ireland over the past decade as the only fully professional team sport on the island.

    O'Connell believes that Schmidt has also worked hard off the field to increase interest in the sport: "He has a far-reaching effect. It isn't just the national team. He's very good at promoting the game here, he does a massive amount of charity work and his coaching style and philosophy is filtering down into all the provinces.

    "It's filtering down into schools and into underage rugby and it's having a massive effect on Irish rugby in general.

    "So it's not just the results he delivers with the national team that mean the IRFU gets great value when they pay him whatever they pay him, it's the effect he seems to be having further down through the game as well."

    'He makes life tough for you'
    Andrew Conway is an example of how Schmidt's influence has helped to shape the careers of so many players within the Irish system.

    The Dubliner was a star schoolboy player but struggled to break into a Leinster backline populated by the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Shane Horgan and Rob Kearney during Schmidt's time in charge of the province and made the move to Munster in search of more regular game time.

    Although he had failed to become a regular under Schmidt at provincial level, Conway was selected for the Emerging Ireland and Ireland Wolfhounds squads during his early years at Munster and the utility back is now pushing for a place in the World Cup squad after his hat-trick performance against the United States during this year's autumn internationals.

    "When you're in meetings with him sometimes you just watch on and realise how lucky you are to have someone like that who is telling you what to do and who is making you grow as a player," said Conway.

    "He's second to none, I'd be shocked if there is anyone out there in the world who is a better rugby coach than Joe Schmidt. What ever he would have put his hand to he would have been an expert at and luckily for us rugby was his choice.

    "He makes life tough for you, camp is tough going and playing is tough going, you know what is expected of you, but he absolutely brings the best out of you and I really enjoy being in that environment."


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