The IRFU have confirmed the appointment of Leinster boss Joe Schmidt as Ireland's new head coach on a contract until 2016.
The IRFU have confirmed the appointment of Leinster boss Joe Schmidt as Ireland's new head coach.
Schmidt will join the IRFU on 1st July on a contract that will see him lead Ireland until after the 2016 Six Nations.
To facilitate Schmidt in completing the season with Leinster and affording him time to select his Ireland management team, Ireland's forthcoming summer tour of the USA and Canada will be lead by interim manager Les Kiss, as planned.
A squad announcement in relation to this tour will be made after the Lions squad for their tour of Australia is confirmed.
“The IRFU is delighted to announce Joe Schmidt as Ireland Team Coach following a process which, in the best interests of Irish rugby, allowed us to examine a variety of options and ultimately ensure we secured a world-class coach and undoubtedly the ideal person for the position,” said IRFU CEO Philip Browne.
“Joe has already delivered significant success to Irish rugby during his time with Leinster and we are confident that this will continue at international level.
“We thank all of those who were involved in this appointment, particularly our colleagues in Leinster, for allowing us the time and space to meet with and ultimately appoint Joe as Ireland Coach.”
“It's an honour to be selected as the Ireland Team Coach. I'm very conscious of the responsibilities that go with the position and look forward to working alongside the players in an effort to meet those responsibilities through the quality of our performance,” said Schmidt.
“I certainly appreciate the prompt and professional handling of the selection process by the IRFU, especially with regard to my current coaching commitment in Leinster, which I will continue to prioritise over the coming weeks.”
Since arriving from Clermont in 2010, Schmidt has led Leinster to two Heineken Cup titles and two RaboDirect Pro12 finals.
Schmidt began his career by guiding Bay of Plenty to the Ranfurly Shield in 2004, before becoming assistant coach with the Auckland Blues for three seasons.
From there the New Zealander moved to France and was part of the Clermont coaching staff that helped end a long wait to lift the Top 14 title in 2010, Clermont's first success in 11 attempts.
Leinster are currently 2nd in the RaboDirect Pro12 and will face Stade FranÃ§ais in the Challenge Cup final next month.