Schmidt was handed cards late mother wrote in lead-up to quarter-final
She penned notes in knowledge that she would not have been alive to see World Cup
Joe Schmidt reveals that this book, and especially the first six chapters, was very much a joint collaboration with his late mother. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Joe Schmidt’s World Cup was to a backdrop of his mother passing away a week before the opening warm-up game against Italy. It resonates throughout his book, the first six chapters of which were written as a joint collaboration with his mum. Even after she passed away he was handed a card a day before the quarter-final which she had written in the knowledge that she would not have been alive to see the World Cup.
On Friday, August 2nd, he writes: “Unfortunately this entry is being written while I’m waiting to board my flight to Auckland, where I’ll catch a connection down to Palmerston North before heading straight out to the beach at Himatangi. The family are all scrambling back because my Mum is dying.
“There’s real urgency now because the palliative care people and my sisters, who have been caring for Mum, have said it’s very close.”
Schmidt reveals that this book, and especially the first six chapters, was very much a joint collaboration with his mother. All of the seven siblings are there to say goodbye to her at the beach house, and Schmidt spends two more days at home before returning to Ireland in time for the Italian game.
‘Keep me busy’
“I’m sure the other coaches will have everything under control, but I’m also keen to have to something else to think about, and to have something to do that will keep me busy.”
On Saturday, October 19th, the day before the quarter-final, Schmidt recalls his son Tim arriving at the team hotel with his mate Robbie to pick up his tickets for the game.
“He had a card for me from my Mum, with a message she wrote when she realised she wasn’t going to live long enough to see the World Cup. I walked away from him to read the card, because I knew I was going to well up. She wrote that she was ‘so proud of what you have achieved but even more proud of what you have become.’ I had to take a few minutes, then wander back to the two lads and we passed a bit of time before I was due to meet the coaches to discuss the last few messages prior to catching up with the players.”