Joe Schmidt to step down as Ireland coach after World Cup and be replaced by Andy Farrell

JOE SCHMIDT will leave his role as Ireland head coach at the end of the Rugby World Cup next year.

The 53-year-old has overseen a stunning 2018 with the Irish sweeping all before them, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and beating the All Blacks in Dublin for the first time.

 Joe Schmidt will leave Ireland after next year's World Cup - and he will be fondly remembered for some real success stories

PA:Press Association
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Joe Schmidt will leave Ireland after next year's World Cup – and he will be fondly remembered for some real success stories

Former England defence coach Andy Farrell — father to Red Rose star Owen Farrell — will succeed Schmidt as head coach after next year's World Cup, the Irish Rugby Football Union has announced.

Speaking his decision, Schmidt said: "I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the Rugby World Cup in 2019.

"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands.

"The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but wherever we have travelled has been uplifting."

 Andy Farrell is the man who will replace Joe Schmidt after the World Cup

PA:Press Association
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Andy Farrell is the man who will replace Joe Schmidt after the World Cup
 If Andy Farrell has soaked up some of Joe Schmidt's coaching methods, Ireland will be in a good position

PA:Press Association
4
If Andy Farrell has soaked up some of Joe Schmidt's coaching methods, Ireland will be in a good position

Ireland made history in the Aviva Stadium ten days ago with their first win over the All Blacks on Irish soil, triumphing 16-9.

The All Blacks had averaged 5.5 tries per game this year and scored almost 40 points per match.

But Ireland kept them try-less and limited Steve Hansen’s team to nine points on a night where every player in green stood up.

The seven-point win was Ireland’s 11th home victory in a row and Schmidt’s team have now won 17 of their last 18 tests, seeing off all of their potential World Cup opponents on that run.

 Joe Schmidt has undoubtedly taken Ireland to the next level and could prove to be a huge loss

AFP
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Joe Schmidt has undoubtedly taken Ireland to the next level and could prove to be a huge loss

And things went on to get even better for the boys in green just a few days later.

Flyhalf Johnny Sexton was named World Rugby Player of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Monaco on Sunday, leading a sweep of the major awards by an Ireland team which has swept all before it this season.

Coach Schmidt, widely acclaimed as the architect of Ireland's rise over the last five years to No. 2 on the world rankings, was named Coach of the Year.

And Ireland was named Team of the Year in recognition of its Six Nations Grand Slam and its historic home win this month over top-ranked New Zealand.

Ireland captain Rory Best said: "It's been an incredible year for us.

"I think the Grand Slam was enormous.

"I think to win it at Twickenham, which is an unbelievably tough place to go with all the pressure that is around, made the Grand Slam the highlight of the year."

JOE SCHMIDT will leave his role as Ireland head coach at the end of the Rugby World Cup next year.