Browne hopes Schmidt will bring Leinster form to Irish post
The wait to find out who would succeed Declan Kidney ended today, as the worst kept secret in Irish rugby was revealed – Joe Schmidt is the new coach.
The current Leinster coach will stay with the province until the end of the season with an Amlin Cup final and the possibility of a Rabo Pro 12 title to play for.
Schmidt signed a deal until after the 2016 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium Schmidt said: “I’ve only been confirmed as coach, it’s happened so quickly so for me it’s about quickly looking forward and starting to plan ahead.”
Schmidt added: “It’s difficult for me when I have currently got my hands full so hopefully over the next four to six weeks I can get time to get my head around this new role.”
Having come into the Leinster side as the successor to Michael Cheika in 2009, the New Zealand native went onto prove himself as one of the best coaches in European rugby winning two Heineken Cup’s in a row but it didn’t work out for him straight away.
“When I came to Leinster I didn’t really want to be a head coach but I have enjoyed the experience, the first four weeks I didn’t enjoy – probably because we were losing but at the same time I am motivated by a challenge.
“It’s an intimidating challenge and if you’re going to figure what to bring to a group what better way than to take on one of the bigger jobs in rugby,” said the New Zealander.
With another year left on Schmidt’s contract his original plan was to move back home but there were some telling factors in what made this new role an attractive one.
“Part of it is the flexibility, although the international windows are a little bit suffocating but in between the windows I can perhaps get back and forth. I have a daughter studying in New Zealand (Well she tells me she’s studying) my family were part of the decision.”
He said: “We are very settled here it would have helped if Terenure had won the senior cup – my son is over that and my daughter is enjoying school and of course my younger son who I have spoken about, he’s treated very well so again it was very much a family decision.”
To facilitate Joe in completing the season with Leinster and affording him time to select his Ireland management team, Ireland’s forthcoming summer tour of the USA and Canada will be managed by interim manager Les Kiss, as planned.
A squad announcement in relation to this tour will be made after the Lions squad for their tour of Australia is confirmed.
“To be honest I know Les really well, I worked with him a little bit when we tried to get him into Leinster when I first started.”
The new boss added: “I think he is very capable and for me I’m busy over the next four weeks and it allows Les to get that team together. We have to wait for the Lions announcement tomorrow and the more names that get pulled out the better and then Les will have a better idea of who else is available to go to America.”
Announcing the appointment IRFU CEO Philip Browne, said: “The IRFU is delighted to announce Joe Schmidt as Ireland Team Coach following a process which, in the best interests of Irish rugby, allowed us to examine a variety of options and ultimately ensure we secured a world-class coach and undoubtedly the ideal person for the position.
"Joe has already delivered significant success to Irish rugby during his time with Leinster and we are confident that this will continue at international level.