Joe Schmidt has announced he will retire from coaching after the 2019 World Cup with Andy Farrell succeeding him as Ireland boss.
New Zealander Schmidt had been regarded as a future All Blacks coach, but he has announced that he will finish coaching following next autumn’s tournament in Japan.
“I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the Rugby World Cup in 2019,” said Schmidt, who was named 2018 world rugby coach of the year on Sunday
“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 has been uplifting.”
Schmidt, 53, was appointed in 2013 after three years in charge of Leinster and has overseen the most successful period in Ireland’s history.
Ireland have won three Six Nations titles under Schmidt, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and risen to No 2 in the world rankings. They have beaten all three southern hemisphere super-powers with a first win on South African soil in 2016 and a series win in Australia in 2018.
Ireland recorded a first win over world champions New Zealand in Chicago in 2016, a triumph which they repeated in Dublin nine days ago.
Farrell, who was capped as a player by England in both union and league codes, is considered one of the best defence coaches in world rugby.
The 43-year-old joined Ireland in 2016 after spells with England and English Premiership side Saracens, and was part of the coaching set-up on the last two British and Irish Lions tours.
“It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role,” he said. “I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019.”
The Rugby Football Union invested a record £107.7m in the English game in the last financial year but has predicted “challenging times” ahead.
That warning comes in the RFU’s financial statement for the year ending June 30, 2018 that saw the governing body post a £30.9m loss.
The current account deficit, however, was offset by a restructuring of the Twickenham hospitality business joint venture with Compass which brought in a one-off profit of £31.6m and enabled an increase in investment in both the elite and grassroots game. The RFU’s annual income fell by £12.5m last year and it has been forced to make 54 members of staff redundant.
Outgoing chief executive Steve Brown put the annual loss down to England only having two home games in the Six Nations and the costs associated with the redundancy programme.
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 has been uplifting.Joe Schmidt