Joe Schmidt (rugby union)

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Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt coaching Irish team.jpg
Birth nameJosef Schmidt
Date of birth (1965-09-12) 12 September 1965 (age 54)
Place of birthKawakawa, New Zealand
Rugby union career
Teams coached
Years Team
Bay of Plenty (asst. coach)
Blues (asst. coach)
Clermont (asst. coach)

Josef Schmidt is a New Zealand rugby union coach, who was the head coach of Ireland from 2013-2019. In six years under his leadership, Ireland have won three Six Nations Championships, and recorded their first-ever wins over his home nation of New Zealand. Schmidt's first head coaching role in Europe was with Leinster Rugby, beginning in 2010. He brought unprecedented success to the province, reaching six finals and winning four trophies in three years. He was previously an assistant coach with the Blues and Clermont Auvergne.

Schmidt has dual citizenship, having become an Irish citizen in 2015.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Schmidt was born in Kawakawa, Northland, New Zealand, and brought up in Woodville - population 1470 - near Palmerston North.[2] He went to Tararua College in Pahiatua.

After training as a school teacher, Schmidt played rugby in New Zealand, including 29 games in the provincial championship for Manawatu. He also played amateur rugby in the Irish lower leagues for a short time during the 1990s.[3] He then returned to New Zealand to take up a teaching position. He taught English and/or coached at Palmerston North Boys' High, Napier Boys' High School and Tauranga Boys' College where he was deputy principal.

Coaching career[edit]

New Zealand clubs[edit]

Schmidt took up the option to coach New Zealand Schools, before leaving teaching to coach Bay of Plenty from 2003–2004. While at the Steamers he won the Ranfurly Shield defeating Auckland on 15 August 2004. The Steamers had one successful defence of the title before losing to Canterbury. Schmidt joined the Blues as assistant coach from 2004–2007 where, in his final year, they were knocked out in the semi-final.

European clubs[edit]

Schmidt moved to Europe and joined Clermont Auvergne in 2007 as backs coach under Vern Cotter who he had previously worked with in Auckland. The side finished Top 14 runners-up twice in 2008 & 2009. In 2010 the side finally won the competition, after 11 appearances in the final. In Europe, Clermont made a less impact in the competition than in the Top 14. Between 2007 and 2009, Clermont failed to progress past the group stages, but during the 2009–10 Heineken Cup, Schmidt's last season with Clermont, Clermont advanced to the Quarter-finals. They lost to Leinster 29–28, with Leinster ironically Schmidt's next coaching role.

Schmidt took over as Leinster Rugby head coach from Michael Cheika for the 2010–11 season.[4] Under his leadership Leinster won the 2011 Heineken Cup, after beating Northampton Saints 33–22,[5] and lost to Munster in the Celtic League Grand Final in May 2011. In the 2011–2012 season, he coached Leinster to a second Pro12 final, losing to the Ospreys 31–30, and led the team to the 2012 Heineken Cup Final, where Leinster retained their title beating Ulster 42–14.[6] In his final year in charge, he coached Leinster to winning the Amlin Challenge Cup and Pro12 titles, haven beaten Stade Français 34–13 and Ulster 24–18 respectively. He ended his Leinster tenure with an overall record of 77 wins from 99 matches, which included a 75% win rate in the Pro 12 and an 85% win rate in Europe.

Ireland national team[edit]


The IRFU announced on 29 April 2013 that Schmidt would leave his position as Leinster coach to take over the Ireland coaching position left vacant by Declan Kidney. Schmidt's first contract would run until the end of the 2015–16 season.[3][7][8][9][10] His first game in charge of Ireland was during the 2013 end of year tests, where he opened his tenure against Samoa on 9 November 2013 - Ireland won the match 40–9[11][12] The following week, Ireland were convincingly beaten by Australia, losing 32–15. However, on 24 November, Ireland had a 19–0 lead against New Zealand but went on to lose by 24–22 after Aaron Cruden scored an overtime conversion for New Zealand.[13] On 15 March 2014, Schmidt's Ireland side defeated France in Paris 22–20 to lift the 2014 Six Nations Championship title, his first silverware with the nation. His only loss was to England at Twickenham 13–10. In June 2014, Ireland claimed their first ever test series win over Argentina during their 2014 Argentine test series. The first test, marked Ireland's first ever win over Argentina on Argentine soil, winning 29–17. In November 2014 during the end-of-year rugby union internationals, Ireland defeated South Africa, Georgia and Australia to move to third in the World Rugby Rankings.[14][15]

In December 2014, Schmidt was named as the Philips Sports Manager of the Year and named as the manager of the Year at the 2014 RTÉ Sports awards.[16][17]

On 1 March 2015, Ireland won their tenth test match in a row after a 19–9 win against England in the 2015 Six Nations Championship, equalling an Irish record set in 2003.[18][19] That run came to an end in the next match on 15 March when Ireland lost 23–16 against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, a defeat that ended Ireland's hopes of winning the Grand Slam.[20] During the final week of the 2015 Six Nations, Ireland, England, France and Wales were all in the chance to claim the title. With Wales' 61–20 win over Italy in the first fixture of the week, not only could France not claim the title, Ireland needed to beat Scotland by more than 21 points to knock Wales out of the equation and keep their chance of retaining the title alive - Ireland later recorded a 40–10 victory. The final match saw England and France play at Twickenham, and England needed to beat France by 27 points or more to claim the title. However, England only won by 20 points, 55–35, which saw Ireland claim their title for a second consecutive year.[21][22]

On 22 July 2015, Schmidt extended his contract with Ireland until 2017.[23] He became an Irish citizen on 2 September 2015.[1]

Ireland opened their 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign on 19 September with a 50–7 win against Canada, and followed that up a week later with a 44–10 win against Romania at Wembley Stadium.[24][25] In their third match of the World Cup they faced Italy, and won the game 16–9 to book their place in the quarter-finals.[26] In their final match of the World Cup pool stage they faced France, and won the game 24–9 to top pool D.[27] On 18 October 2015, Ireland lost by 43–20 to Argentina in the Quarter-finals.[28]


Ireland finished in third place in the 2016 Six Nations Championship with two wins against Italy (58–15) and Scotland (35–25), a draw against Wales (16–16) and two losses to France (10–9) and England (21–10). In June 2016, Schmidt led Ireland to their first ever away victory over South Africa when the Irish won the first test of their tour of South Africa 26–20. This was despite playing with only 14 players on the field for more than 50 minutes of the game when CJ Stander was red carded in the 22nd minute. In the second test, Ireland led South Africa 19–3 at half time, but 29 unanswered points in the second half saw South Africa draw level in the series. The final test saw South Africa clinch the series, with a 19–13 win over the Irish. On 24 October 2016, Schmidt signed a new contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union to continue as Ireland head coach until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[29][30] On 5 November 2016, in Ireland's first match of the Autumn Internationals, Ireland defeated New Zealand for the very first time in a test match, winning 40–29.[31] The following week, they defeated Canada in Dublin 52–21, before playing New Zealand again, on this occasion, losing 21–9. On 26 November, Ireland completed a rare triple-win, defeating Australia 27–24, to become the first team since England in 2003, to beat Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in a single year.[32]

During the 2017 Six Nations Championship, Ireland ended England's 18-match unbeaten run when they defeated them in Dublin 13–9 in the final week of the Championship, which secured Ireland a second-place finish. This came despite a first round loss to Scotland 27–22 and a 22–9 loss to Wales in Cardiff. Schmidt later led a depleted Ireland team on a victorious June tour winning all three games convincingly; 55–19 win over the United States followed by a 2–0 series win over Japan, winning 50–22 and 35–13. During the 2017 Autumn Internationals, Ireland won all three games, against South Africa (38–3) a record victory, Fiji (23–20), and Argentina (28–19) to move up to third in the World Rugby Rankings.[33]

On March 10, 2018, Ireland claimed the 2018 Six Nations Championship with a round to go, and rose to second place in the world rankings. This came, following victories over France (15–13), Italy (56–19), Wales (37–27) and Scotland (28–8). Their Championship was complete with a 24–15 victory over England, their first since 2010 at Twickenham, in the final round to claim their first Grand Slam since 2009.[34][35] In June 2018, he led his side to a 2–1 series victory over Australia, their first series win in Australia since 1979.

On November 17, 2018, in the end-of-year internationals, Ireland beat New Zealand for the second time (and the first time on Irish soil).[36]

On November 25, 2018, at the World Rugby Awards which were hosted in Monaco, Joe Schmidt was awarded the World Rugby Coach of the Year. He is only the second Irish Rugby Football Union coach to receive the award (the first Irish Rugby Football Union Coach to win it was Declan Kidney back in 2009). He was not present at the ceremony and Ireland Rugby Vice-Captain Peter O'Mahony accepted the award on Schmidt's behalf.[37] At the same awards, Ireland was awarded World Rugby Team of the Year and Irish flyhalf Jonathan Sexton walked away with World Rugby Player of the Year.[37]

On November 26, 2018, Schmidt announced his retirement from coaching after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. As of now, current defence coach Andy Farrell is set to become the new head coach of the Irish team.[38][39] He began his final year as Ireland coach with a 32–20 loss to England on 2 February in the first round of the 2019 Six Nations Championship.[40] This was Ireland's first home loss since 2016, and their first loss to England at the Aviva Stadium since 2013. Ireland returned to winning ways against Scotland the following week, winning 22–13 before back to back wins over Italy and France and defeat away to Grand Slam winning Wales on 16 March to finish in third place in the championship.[41]

At the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Ireland began with a 27-3 win against Scotland on 22 September before losing to Japan a week later 19-12 in the Shizuoka Stadium.[42][43] Wins over Russia by 35-0 and Samoa by 47-5 setup a quarter-final against New Zealand on 19 October.[44][45] In Schmidt's last game in charge, New Zealand won by 46-14 to eliminate Ireland from the World Cup at the quarter-final stage.[46][47][48]

Ireland head coaching statistics[edit]

Record by opponent[edit]

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) Points for Points against
 Argentina 5 4 0 1 080% 156 130
 Australia 6 4 0 2 067% 68 79
 Canada 2 2 0 0 100% 102 28
 England 8 3 0 5 038% 124 177
 Fiji 1 1 0 0 100% 23 20
 France 6 5 0 1 083% 107 72
 Georgia 1 1 0 0 100% 49 7
 Italy 8 8 0 0 100% 348 80
 Japan 3 2 0 1 067% 85 35
 New Zealand 5 2 0 3 040% 101 129
 Romania 1 1 0 0 100% 44 10
 Russia 1 1 0 0 100% 35 0
 South Africa 5 3 0 2 060% 132 89
 Samoa 2 2 0 0 100% 87 14
 Scotland 8 7 0 1 088% 230 114
 United States 2 2 0 0 100% 112 33
 Wales 10 5 1 4 050% 197 180
Total 73 53 1 19 072.60% 2000 1197
  • Updated as of 19 October 2019


Other honours[edit]

Bay of Plenty (as assistant coach)


Clermont Auvergne (as assistant coach)

  • Top 14
    • Winner: 2010
    • Runners-up: 2008, 2009

Coaching approach[edit]

Schmidt is known for analysing his opposition closely, for short, sharp training sessions, and for simple game strategies based on pressure, territory, intelligent defence with aggressive line speed, and rehearsed attacking plays. He also sometimes limits offloading if he feels his side will not win the collisions.[49][50]

Personal life[edit]

On 2 September 2015, Schmidt was granted Irish citizenship.[51] His son Luke was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four and Schmidt has become involved with Epilepsy Ireland.


  1. ^ a b "Citizen Schmidt: Ireland rugby coach now one of our own". Irish Times. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Rugby: Grand Slam in hand, Ireland eye knocking New Zealand off number one". 19 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Padraic Halpin (29 April 2013). "Kiwi Schmidt named new Ireland coach". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Schmidt to take over at Leinster". BBC News. 28 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Heineken Cup: Leinster 33–22 Northampton". RTÉ Sport. 21 May 2011. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Heineken Cup Final: Leinster beat Ulster to retain trophy". BBC News. 19 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Joe Schmidt appointed as Ireland rugby coach". RTÉ News. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Leinster's Joe Schmidt is appointed new Ireland coach". BBC News. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Schmidt the right man in right place at the right time". Irish Independent. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Leinster's Joe Schmidt is appointed new Ireland coach". BBC Sport. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Schmidt names three fresh faces in squad". ESPN. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Schmidt leaves three Lions out for Samoa as O'Connell confirmed as captain". Irish Independent. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Heroic Ireland denied at the death". Irish Examiner. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Ireland beat Australia to complete Test clean sweep". Irish Independent. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Five things we learned from Ireland's victorious Autumn Series". Irish Independent. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Joe Schmidt wins Philips Manager of the Year award". The Score. 10 December 2014. Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Rory McIlroy crowned the RTÉ Sport Sports Person of the Year as BOD enters Hall of Fame". Irish Independent. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Ireland 19–9 England: Stuart Lancaster's side see their Six Nations hopes derailed with deserved defeat in Dublin". Daily Mail. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Brilliant Ireland set World Cup benchmark". Irish Independent. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Wales end Ireland's grand slam chances with Scott Williams try". Guardian. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Determined Ireland batter Scots". ESPN. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Ireland hammer Scotland and retain their title after a nervous wait". Guardian. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  23. ^ "Huge boost for Irish rugby as Joe Schmidt commits to 2017". Irish Independent. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Ireland lay down marker with seven-try rout". ESPN. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  25. ^ "Ireland continue 100% record with Romania rout". ESPN. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland 16-9 Italy". BBC Sport. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  27. ^ "Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland 24-9 France". BBC Sport. 11 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  28. ^ "Ireland 20 Argentina 43". Guardian. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Joe Schmidt signs new contract to remain as Ireland head coach until after 2019 World Cup". The 42. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  30. ^ "Ruaidhri O'Connor: Unfinished business sets Schmidt on World Cup course". Irish Independent. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  31. ^ "Ireland 40-29 New Zealand: Joe Schmidt's men taste historic victory over All Blacks as they run in five tries to record first win in 111 years". Daily Mail. 5 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  32. ^ Ireland 27 Australia 24: Joe Schmidt's side become first team since 2003 to beat southern hemisphere 'big three'
  33. ^ "Jacob Stockdale leads the way as Ireland finish on a high with win over Argentina". Irish Independent. 25 November 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Six Nations: Ireland win 2018 title after England's defeat by France". BBC Sport. 10 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  35. ^ "Ireland move up to second in World Rugby rankings after win over Scotland". The 42. 12 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Jacob Stockdale scores only try as Ireland earn historic win over All Blacks". Guardian. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  37. ^ a b [1]
  38. ^ "Joe Schmidt confirms he will leave Ireland after 2019 World Cup". The Irish Times. 26 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Confirmed: Joe Schmidt to 'finish coaching' after World Cup with Ireland, Andy Farrell taking over". Irish Independent. 26 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  40. ^ "England beat Ireland 32-20 in Dublin". BBC Sport. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  41. ^ "Wales win Six Nations Grand Slam". BBC Sport. 16 March 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  42. ^ "Joe Schmidt's side win Rugby World Cup opener". BBC Sport. 22 September 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  43. ^ "Japan stun Ireland to pull off another famous Rugby World Cup upset". Guardian. 28 September 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  44. ^ "Ireland get World Cup campaign back on track with hard-fought Russia rout". Guardian. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  45. ^ "Ireland thrash Samoa to ease into last eight despite Bundee Aki red card". Guardian. 12 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  46. ^ "New Zealand thrash Ireland to set up World Cup semi-final with England". Guardian. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  47. ^ "New Zealand 46-14 Ireland: 'We gave All Blacks a leg up' says Irish coach Schmidt". BBC Sport. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  48. ^ "Joe Schmidt 'blown away' by offers to continue coaching". The 42. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^ "'One of the best': Joe Schmidt becomes an Irish citizen". The Journal. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015.

External links[edit]