Kiwi Joe Schmidt named new Ireland coach

 Kiwi Joe Schmidt named new Ireland coach

NEXT LEVEL: Kiwi Joe Schmidt is the new Ireland rugby coach. 

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New Zealand's Joe Schmidt was named as Ireland's new coach on Monday, a popular choice who will be charged with picking up the Irish after their worst Six Nations in 14 years.
Leinster's double Heineken Cup-winning coach takes over from Declan Kidney whose five-year tenure that began with a first Six Nations grand slam in 61 years ended this month with his side narrowly avoiding a first wooden spoon since a whitewash in 1998.
Schmidt, who guided Leinster to their second and third European titles in four years during his first two seasons in charge, would be presented at a news conference later on Monday, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said in a statement.
Schmidt, who was the favourite for a post that also attracted the interest of Queensland Reds' coach Ewen McKenzie, is admired by many for playing the kind of attacking rugby Kidney was criticised for not bringing to the national team.
The softly-spoken Kiwi, who briefly played and coached in the Irish lower leagues during the 1990s, returned with the aim of making Leinster the best passing team in Europe and succeeded in bringing an extra verve to the 2009 Heineken Cup champions.
Schmidt's Leinster were untouchable in a 17-match unbeaten European run that spanned two years and was ended by his former club, Heineken Cup finalists Clermont, last December.
In his first European triumph, the Irish province turned around a 22-6 halftime deficit to stun Northampton in the 2011 final and last season they swept aside Ulster 42-14, the biggest margin of victory in a Heineken Cup decider.
Schmidt has taken Leinster to the final of the Amlin Cup this season and had been Kidney's expected replacement despite having run-ins with the Irish Union over overseas player limits for the regional sides.
Ireland's grand-slam winning captain Brian O'Driscoll, who will decide whether or not to retire this year, said last week that he learned more in three years under the former school headmaster than he did from any other coach in the previous decade.
The IRFU this month put Kidney's assistant Les Kiss in charge of the team for their June tour of North America. They welcome Schmidt's native New Zealand to Dublin in November, alongside Australia and Samoa.


Posted by Maryna Warren on 09/05/2013 08:52:49 |

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