Schmidt confirmed as new Leinster coach

 

Rugby:Leinster have completed a deal to bring Clermont Auvergne's backs coach Joe Schmidt to replace head coach Michael Cheika. The defending European champions confirmed this evening that Schmidt has signed a three-year deal with the province and will take up his role next summer.

While he has yet to confirm his plans, it has been known for some time that Cheika will leave his post at the end of the season after five years in Dublin.

Leinster have yet to finalise the backroom staff but Alan Gaffney has already confirmed his intention to leave the province. It is understood that Jonno Gibbes will remain to work alongside the new head coach.

Schmidt has worked with Clermont for three years having cut his teeth alongside Clermont head coach Vern Cotter at Bay of Plenty. He is no stranger to these shores and played with Mullingar in the early 1990s.

He also had a stint coaching at the Auckland Blues but the Leinster job will be his first first senior head coach position.

“It's an enormous opportunity,” the 44-year-old said earlier today. “It's a new challenge for me and I hope that I can bring something to the team.”

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa, who worked under Schmidt at the Blues, has already spoken in glowing terms of his ability.

“He is the Mr Rugby in my mind,” he told the Irish Timeslast month. “He taught me most of the stuff that I know about a backline in the three years I was with him at the Blues.

“He had a young mind into the game, and he really knows the game of rugby – the reasons why you do moves.”