His­tory maker Sch­midt to step down after WC

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

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.”

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