Rugby coach Joe Schmidt wows at club fundraiser

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

250 guests at­tended a lunch and ques­tions and an­swers ses­sion with Ir­ish rugby coach Joe Schmidt.

In five years un­der his lead­er­ship, Ire­land have won three Six Na­tions Cham­pi­onships, and recorded their first-ever wins over his home na­tion of New Zealand. He re­tires as Ire­land coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

His visit to Wick­low Rugby Club gen­er­ated plenty of in­ter­est. In ad­vance of the lunch fundraiser for the Wick­low Rugby Club De­vel­op­ment Fund, club mem­bers were asked to send in what ques­tions they would like to ask, with the best ones put to the man him­self last Fri­day.

MC for the oc­ca­sion was Michael Sheri­dan, who asked the spe­cial guest a se­ries of ques­tions upon his ar­rival to Ash­town Lane. The hon­oured guest ended up chat­ting away am­i­ca­bly and an­swer­ing any ques­tions that were put to him for over an hour and a half.

He also ap­peared im­pressed with the de­sign plans for the club’s €250,000 ex­ten­sion to the club­house.

His fel­low New Zealan­ders, Wick­low Rugby Club Head Coach Ge­orge Naoupu and his wife Sene, were also in­for­mally asked a num­ber of ques­tions while seated at their din­ner table. Ge­orge has played with both Con­nacht and Har­lequins and has also been capped for New Zealand at schools, u19s and sevens level. Sene is an Ir­ish in­ter­na­tional and in 2016 she was named the Guin­ness Rugby Writ­ers Women’s Player of the Year and the IRUPA Women’s Player of the Year.

Seven items were put up for auc­tion, in­clud­ing a framed Ir­ish jersey signed by Joe Schmidt.

Joe Schmidt with Club Pres­i­dent Bert Ni­chol­son and Brian Clarke at the Au­di­ence with Joe Schmidt Fundraiser for Wick­low Rugby Club.

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