Joe Schmidt appointed new head coach of Australia

Joe Schmidt has signed a two-year deal with Australia
Joe Schmidt has signed a two-year deal with Australia

Rugby Australia have announced former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt as the new head coach.

The 58-year-old will join the Wallabies set up in March and has signed a two-year contract.

Having worked with Bay of Plenty, Blues and Clermont as assistant coach, Schmidt took over the head coach of role with Leinster in 2010 and under him the club reached six finals and winning four trophies, including a PRO12 title, two European Cups and a Challenge Cup.

His success at the international stage came with Ireland when he took over as their head coach in 2013 and guided them to three Six Nations titles (2014, 2015 and Grand Slam 2018). He also guided Ireland to first ever win against New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and again defeated the All Blacks two years later in the November series

“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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Schmidt will take over the reins from Eddie Jones, who stepped down from the head coach role after a disastrous second stint as the Wallabies managed just two wins from nine games last year. They also became the first ever Australian side to exit from the World Cup in the opening round during the last year's event in France.

“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,” said RA incoming director of high-performance Peter Horne.

“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."