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Ex-All Black Sir John Kirwan ‘uncomfortable’ with Joe Schmidt joining Wallabies

By Finn Morton
Ex-Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has taken charge of Australia (Photo by Ayush Kumar/AFP vis Getty Images)

Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Sir John Kirwan has expressed his discomfort in former New Zealand assistant coach Joe Schmidt heading across the Tasman to take up the Australia job.


Schmidt, 58, rose to world-class coaching status during a glistening stint with Ireland, which saw him guide the men in green to World No. 1 status for the first time. During Schmidt’s reign, Ireland also claimed their maiden victory over the All Blacks.

But after stepping away from that role, New Zealand-born Schmidt linked up with the All Blacks and served as an assistant coach under Ian Foster at last year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

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There’s no denying that Schmit is a talented coach with plenty to give to the sport, but his decision to take the Wallabies’ head coach job has drawn a reaction from a New Zealand rugby great.

Sir John Kirwan, who himself coached both Japan and Italy, revealed on New Zealand TV that the appointment has left him feeling “a little bit uncomfortable.”

“I think he’ll be great, and we want Australia to be strong,” Kirwan said on Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown.

“But if you come this way, coach other nations and then you come back and coach the All Blacks. But after that, I think it’s too close.


“But as an ex-All Black, I get uncomfortable with that… but good luck to him.

“I hope he makes Australia strong because I really want them to be strong.

“He’ll be a great coach, but as an ex-All Black, it makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Nothing personal.”

Following Dave Rennie and Eddie Jones, Schmidt was officially unveiled as the Wallabies’ third head coach in as many years at a press conference last month.

The former World Rugby Coach of the Year was presented to a room full of reporters at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

Rugby Australia’s decision to appoint Schmidt was largely seen as a step in the right direction for Australian rugby, although he’s only signed on until the end of next year’s British and Irish Lions Tour.


“I’m desperate for the Wallabies to be competitive, and if I can help, that’s why I’m here,” Schmidt explained at that press conference.

“I think the global rugby family is desperate for the Wallabies to be where they need to be. British and Irish Lions, they want to have a fantastic series so we want to build toward that and give them exactly what they want and not make anything easy for them.

“Two years after that you’ve got a home World Cup.

“I’m desperate that the Wallabies are really competitive in that World Cup and we get through to those really competitive playoff rounds.”


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Poorfour 11 hours ago
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