Joe Schmidt set to become new head coach of Australia, say reports

Former Ireland coach was assistant to the All Blacks at the last Rugby World Cup

Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is set to succeed Eddie Jones as the new Wallabies boss, according to Australian news outlets. A confirmation is expected from Rugby Australia in the coming days. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that only the paperwork has to be finalised before the 58-year-old, who led Ireland to a first victory over the All Blacks in Chicago Field in 2016, is announced.

Schmidt, who was assistant coach to the All Blacks at the last Rugby World Cup, where the team finished runners-up to South Africa, greatly improved the success rate of the Irish team during his tenure between 2013 and 2019. His transformative influence brought Ireland three Six Nations titles and a Grand Slam in 2018, the same year he won World Rugby Coach of the Year.

Ireland also gained their world number one ranking for the first time under Schmidt in 2019, when Ireland defeated Wales in back-to-back home and away warm-up matches before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Jones, who had signed a five-year deal with Rugby Australia at the beginning of 2023 resigned last October following a particularly poor run of results during which time the Wallabies won just two of nine Test matches and were knocked out of the World Cup at the pool stage for the first time in their history.


There are few details of Schmidt’s contract at this stage, but the agreement should allow him to be involved next year when the British and Irish Lions travel to Australia for three Test matches in July and August, where Andy Farrell will be in charge of the tourists.

Schmidt will also rekindle his working arrangement with Ireland Director of Rugby David Nucifora, who is expected to take up an advisory role with Rugby Australia. Nucifora confirmed that his 10-year tenure with Ireland would come to an end after the Olympic Games in Paris this summer. Former Irish outhalf David Humphreys will take up the director position.

The former English teacher will be the third New Zealand coach to take charge of the Australian team after Robbie Deans and David Rennie.

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Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times