On this day: The Joe Schmidt era begins in Ireland
Joe Schmidt was appointed as Ireland head coach on this day in 2013. The New Zealander, who had guided Leinster to back-to-back Heineken Cup crowns in 2011 and 2012, signed a three-year contract as he succeeded Declan Kidney.
Kidney was relieved of the role earlier in the month after a poor Six Nations campaign, in which the team finished fifth, their worst championship performance since 1999.
Schmidt was set to officially begin work on July 1 with Les Kiss – the attack coach under Kidney – overseeing the summer tour to the United States and Canada.
“When I came to Leinster in 2010 I didn’t really want to be a head coach, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience since,” Schmidt said.
“I’m really motivated by challenge and this is a super but intimidating one. If you’re going to find out what you can bring to a group, what better way than to take on one of the big jobs in world rugby.
“I’ve had a good look at a lot of Ireland’s players and, when we get our collective together, we’ll try to improve performance and make us as competitive as possible.”
Schmidt subsequently took charge after Leinster had won both the Challenge Cup and PRO12, and was at the Ireland helm until 2019.
His reign saw the team win three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and beat New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 – their first ever victory over the All Blacks – and then again in Dublin two years later.
The last match of his tenure was a 46-14 loss to New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup – they had been eliminated at the same stage by Argentina at the 2015 edition.
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