Joe Schmidt announced as new coach of Wallabies
The New Zealander takes over from Eddie Jones who quit after the 2023 World Cup.
New Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt speaks to media in Sydney, Australia on Friday. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt vowed to “build a way forward” for the Wallabies on Friday as officials confirmed he is taking over as coach to replace Eddie Jones.
Jones acrimoniously quit in October after the team’s calamitous World Cup campaign, just 10 months into a five-year contract, having won just two from nine Tests.
He has since been hired by Japan.
New Zealander Schmidt will coach the Wallabies from March 1 until at least the conclusion of the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, governing body Rugby Australia said in a statement.
“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,” Schmidt said.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Last month, long-serving World Rugby administrator Peter Horne was appointed as RA’s new director of high-performance, with David Nucifora returning home from his role as high-performance director with Ireland to help.
Both men have strong relationships with 58-year-old Schmidt, who coached Ireland from 2013 to 2019 and was instrumental in helping them become the number one ranked team in the world.
More recently, he worked with the All Blacks as an assistant coach at the last World Cup, where they finished runners-up to South Africa.
“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,” Horne said.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Australia have 18 months to prepare for the Lions tour and will host the men’s World Cup two years after that.
Wales are due to tour Australia in July.
‘Success at every stop’
Rugby Australia chief executive Phil Waugh praised Schmidt’s record, notably with Ireland and the All Blacks.
“Joe has delivered success at every stop in his career,” Waugh said.
“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 added.
“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.”
Rugby Australia said details of coaching staff appointments would be announced later.