Rugby Australia welcomes Joe Schmidt as Wallabies Head Coach

Thu, Jan 18, 2024, 11:35 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Joe Schmidt has been confirmed today by Rugby Australia (RA) as the next head coach of the Wallabies.

Schmidt will coach the Wallabies until at least the conclusion of the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025.

The 2018 World Rugby Coach of the Year spent more than six years as Ireland’s head coach, winning three Six Nations titles (including the 2018 Grand Slam), beating the All Blacks for the first time, winning in South Africa for the first time, and leading Ireland to the World Number One ranking for the first time in 2019.

Prior to his elevation as Ireland’s national coach, Schmidt spent three seasons as head coach of Irish club Leinster, where he won two Heineken Cups (European Champions), as well as both the Challenge Cup and Pro 14 in 2013.

Most recently, Schmidt was an assistant coach for the All Blacks, where he helped guide New Zealand to the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final against South Africa.

The former Manawatu provincial representative player in New Zealand has had two stints as an assistant coach for the Blues Super Rugby team, was an assistant coach of ASM Clermont Auvergne when it won the French Championship for the first time in 2010, and held the position of director of rugby and high-performance at World Rugby in 2020-21.

The new Wallabies coach will report to Rugby Australia’s new director of high-performance, Peter Horne, in a new structure designed to deliver stronger alignment of high-performance Rugby programs in Australia.

Joe Schmidt says he is eager to get started.

“I am conscious that the Wallabies have weathered a difficult period, and I am keen to help them build a way forward, with greater alignment and clear direction from RA.

“The upcoming Test matches against Wales will arrive quickly, post-Super Rugby, and the program through to the British and Irish Lions Tour next year presents plenty of opportunities and challenges – which I am sure will invigorate players and staff.

“I am looking forward to connecting with Super Rugby coaches, RA staff, and getting to observe and meet players in the coming months.” Rugby Australia’s incoming director of high-performance, Peter Horne, led the recruitment process.

“It has been a thorough process to make sure that we have landed the best and most suitable candidate – conducted by a panel including Dan Herbert and Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, John Eales, David Nucifora, RA’s head of people and culture and myself.

“It was a unanimous decision to appoint Joe – everyone on the panel was impressed by his demeanour, his calm and logical approach to the game, as well as his communication style.

“Throughout his career, Joe has demonstrated an ability to take a leadership role in structural reform while developing a strong culture and world-class players.

“From my personal experience working with Joe at World Rugby, he is an ideal fit for the Wallabies and Australian Rugby at this time, and I am looking forward to working closely with him on developing a stronger alignment with our Super Rugby clubs to maximise our performances."

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh said Schmidt’s global coaching resumé was undeniable.

“Joe has delivered success at every stop in his career – winning European titles with Leinster, winning Six Nations championships, leading Ireland to World Number One for the first time and, most recently, his role in the All Blacks’ run to the Rugby World Cup Final.

“He has also been a World Coach of the Year after he won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018.

“Given our stated plan to build a unified Australian Rugby system, Joe’s experience with Ireland and New Zealand – two of the most aligned Rugby nations in the world – will no doubt prove valuable as we move forward.

“He has a global view of the game from his experience in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, and his appointment puts us in a strong position as we build towards the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour.”

Joe Schmidt is scheduled to start with the Wallabies on 1 March, with details of coaching staff appointments to come at a later stage.