Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt turned down the opportunity to become part of the All Blacks coaching team last year.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said they wanted Schmidt to come in to replace Wayne Smith who was retiring in summer 2017, with the idea that either Schmidt or Ian Foster would take the head coach role once Steve Hansen eventually departs.
Schmidt has now confirmed he will leave his Irish role following the tournament in Japan next year, with defence coach Andy Farrell lined up to replace him.
The New Zealander, who took over in 2013, had led Ireland to three Six Nations titles, 2014, 2015 and the Grand Slam success in 2018.
He’s also coached Ireland to their first ever win over the All Blacks, with a 40-29 success in Chicago and secured a first victory over New Zealand on home soil this year, 16-9 at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland’s Grand Slam success this year, was followed by a 2-1 series win in Australia and a clean sweep in November, leading Schmidt to win the 2018 World Rugby Coach of the Year.
Continue reading below…
Coming soon: RugbyPass Exceptional Stories: Ian McKinley – Trailer
He had been heavily touted to succeed Hansen, but that suggestion was dampened down when Schmidt revealed his intention to walk away from the Ireland job. “I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019″ he said.
“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 home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.
“Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland.
“There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there’s plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible.”
You may also like: Johnny Sexton signs new IRFU contract
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now