Sunday 23 October 2016

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt commits for World Cup campaign

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Joe Schmidt is believed to have signed a contract extension with the IRFU that will see him remain as Ireland head coach until the 2019 World Cup.

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The Kiwi's future had been uncertain but he is understood to have informed senior members of his squad that he will lead them in Japan in three years' time.

Since June's tour of South Africa, Schmidt has spent much of his time at home in New Zealand pondering his next move but an announcement is expected soon from the IRFU.

Super Rugby outfits the Chiefs and Highlanders had made it clear that Schmidt was very much on their radar but he is now poised to remain in Ireland.

Schmidt has guided Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations titles in two of the last three years, since he took over in 2013 and this news would come as a huge boost.

The 50-year-old's current deal runs until next June but an extension has long been on the table.

Ireland's backroom team are already signed up until after the next World Cup and now that Schmidt is about to join them, they can continue their preparations for next month's Autumn Series.

Schmidt was originally expected to inform the IRFU of his decision earlier this summer but that was again deferred by two weeks at the start of the month as family considerations meant that he took plenty of time to reach a conclusion.

His decision not to be considered for the Lions coaching job would now appear to be because he favours having his full focus on Ireland's tour of Japan next summer.

Irish Independent

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