Confirmed: Joe Schmidt commits to Ireland up to the end of the 2019 World Cup
Published 24/10/2016 | 14:07
Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has agreed to remain in his role as head coach until the end of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, the IRFU have confirmed.
Schmidt's contract was due to end in the summer of 2017, with the New Zealander stating after last summer's tour to South Africa that a decision on his future was imminent.
It had been thought in recent weeks that the former Leinster coach was likely to stay on and complete this World Cup cycle, with today's news confirming that.
Since becoming the Ireland head coach in 2013, Schmidt has lead the team to two Six Nations championships, as well as wins over South Africa and Australia and a World Cup quarter-final berth.
The only scalp Schmidt's Ireland have yet to take is that of the All Blacks, but with two fixtures against the world champions to come next month, that could soon change.
"I'd like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated," Schmidt said in a statement.
"It is difficult at times being so far away from extended family but we appreciate how lucky we are to have the support we have here in Ireland.
"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie.
"The wider community has made us welcome and as a family we have benefitted immensely from their support."
Before becoming the national coach, Schmidt won two Heineken Cups, a Pro12 title and the European Challenge Cup as Leinster head coach.
Prior to that, he was the Clermont backs coach when the French side won their first ever Top14 title in 2010.