History maker Schmidt to step down after WC
World coach of the year Joe Schmidt is to step down as Ireland handler after next year’s World Cup and be replaced by their defense guru Andy Farrell the Irish Rugby Football Union announced on Monday.
The 53-year-old New Zealander – named coach of the year on Sunday – says he will take time out of coaching to prioritize his family.
This may lay to rest the rumors linking him with potentially taking over world champions New Zealand were Steve Hansen to announce in December he too is stepping down after the World Cup.
Schmidt has guided the Irish to unprecedented success in his tenure since taking over the reins of a demoralized outfit in 2013.
Under him they have won three Six Nations titles – including this year’s Grand Slam – and two historic wins over world champions New Zealand, including a first ever win over them on Irish soil in an epic 16-9 victory earlier this month.
Schmidt will next year hope to set right the one major disappointment in his reign – the humbling by Argentina in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals – and deliver the Webb Ellis trophy to Ireland for the first time.
Schmidt, who was hired as Ireland coach on the back of a successful spell at Irish province Leinster winning successive European Cups (2011/12), has often spoken about how little he gets to see his family with the demands of the job.
One of Schmidt’s four children Luke suffers from epilepsy and the coach has become heavily involved in the epilepsy charity in Ireland.
“I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritize family commitments after the RWC in 2019,” said Schmidt.
“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 Lansdowne Road, but where ever we have traveled has been uplifting.”