Joe Schmidt (rugby union)

Joe Schmidt
Full name Josef Schmidt
Date of birth (1965-09-12) 12 September 1965
Place of birth Woodville, New Zealand
Rugby union career
Coaching career
Years Club / team
Bay of Plenty (asst. coach)
Blues (asst. coach)
Clermont (asst. coach)

Josef 'Joe' Schmidt is a New Zealand-born Irish rugby union coach, who is currently the head coach of Ireland. Ireland have won two 6 Nations Championships in two years under his leadership. 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 was born and grew up in New Zealand, and became an Irish citizen in 2015.[1]

Early life

After training as a school teacher, Schmidt played rugby in New Zealand before playing amateur rugby in the Irish lower leagues during the 1990s.[2] He then returned to New Zealand to take up the position of a head teacher.


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.

Coaching approach

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.[3][4]

Clermont Auvergne

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 next coaching role.


Schmidt took over as Leinster Rugby head coach for the 2010–11 season, taking over from Michael Cheika.[5] Under his leadership Leinster won the 2011 Heineken Cup, after beating Northampton Saints 33–22,[6] and lost to Munster in the Magners League Grand Final in May 2011. In the 2011–2012 season, he coached Leinster to a second Pro 12 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.[7] In his final year in charge, he coached Leinster to winning the Amlin Challenge Cup and Pro 12 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 a 85% win rate in Europe.


On 29 April 2013, it was announced by the IRFU that Schmidt would leave his position as Leinster coach to take over the Ireland coaching position left vacant by Declan Kidney. Schmidt's three-year deal runs until the end of the 2015–16 season.[2][8][9][10][11] 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[12][13] The following week, Ireland were convincingly beat 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.[14] 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.[15][16]

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.[17][18]

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.[19][20] 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.[21] 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.[22][23]

On 22 July 2015, Schmidt extended his contract with Ireland until 2017.[24] 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.[25][26] 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.[27] In their final match of the World Cup pool stage they faced France, and won the game 24–9 to top pool D.[28] On 18 October 2015, Ireland lost by 43–20 to Argentina in the Quarter-finals.[29]

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 loses 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 player on the field for more than 50 minutes of the game when CJ Stander was red carded on 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 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 Football Rugby Union to continue as Ireland head coach until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.[30][31] 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, wining 40–29.[32] 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.[33]

International Matches as Head Coach

Note: World Rankings Column shows the World Ranking Ireland was placed at on the following Monday after each of their matches

Record by country

Opponent Played Won Drew Lost Win ratio (%) For Against
 Argentina 320166.66% 72 77
 Australia 320167% 68 79
 Canada 2200100% 102 28
 England 410325% 52 64
 France 430175% 73 50
 Georgia 1100100% 49 7
 Italy 4400100% 146 34
 New Zealand 310233% 71 74
 Romania 1100100% 44 10
 South Africa 420250% 94 86
 Samoa 1100100% 40 9
 Scotland 4400100% 131 63
 Wales 521240% 103 79
TOTAL 392611266.67%1045660


Other honours

Bay of Plenty (as assistant coach)


Clermont Auvergne (as assistant coach)

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

Personal life

On 2 September 2015, Schmidt was granted Irish citizenship.[34] His son Luke was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four and Schmidt has become involved with Epilepsy Ireland.


  1. 1 2 "Citizen Schmidt: Ireland rugby coach now one of our own". Irish Times. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 Padraic Halpin (29 April 2013). "Kiwi Schmidt named new Ireland coach". Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  5. "Schmidt to take over at Leinster". BBC News. 28 December 2009.
  6. "Heineken Cup: Leinster 33–22 Northampton". RTÉ Sport. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  7. "Heineken Cup Final: Leinster beat Ulster to retain trophy". BBC News. 19 May 2012.
  8. "Joe Schmidt appointed as Ireland rugby coach". RTÉ News. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  9. "Leinster's Joe Schmidt is appointed new Ireland coach". BBC News. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  10. "Schmidt the right man in right place at the right time". Irish Independent. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  11. "Leinster's Joe Schmidt is appointed new Ireland coach". BBC Sport. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  12. "Schmidt names three fresh faces in squad". ESPN. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  13. "Schmidt leaves three Lions out for Samoa as O'Connell confirmed as captain". Irish Independent. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  14. "Heroic Ireland denied at the death". Irish Examiner. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  15. "Ireland beat Australia to complete Test clean sweep". Irish Independent. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  16. "Five things we learned from Ireland's victorious Autumn Series". Irish Independent. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  17. "Joe Schmidt wins Philips Manager of the Year award". The Score. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  18. "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.
  19. "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.
  20. "Brilliant Ireland set World Cup benchmark". Irish Independent. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  21. "Wales end Ireland's grand slam chances with Scott Williams try". Guardian. 15 March 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  22. "Determined Ireland batter Scots". ESPN. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  23. "Ireland hammer Scotland and retain their title after a nervous wait". Guardian. 21 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  24. "Huge boost for Irish rugby as Joe Schmidt commits to 2017". Irish Independent. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  25. "Ireland lay down marker with seven-try rout". ESPN. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  26. "Ireland continue 100% record with Romania rout". ESPN. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  27. "Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland 16-9 Italy". BBC Sport. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  28. "Rugby World Cup 2015: Ireland 24-9 France". BBC Sport. 11 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  29. "Ireland 20 Argentina 43". Guardian. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  30. "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.
  31. "Ruaidhri O'Connor: Unfinished business sets Schmidt on World Cup course". Irish Independent. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  32. "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.
  33. Ireland 27 Australia 24: Joe Schmidt's side become first team since 2003 to beat southern hemisphere 'big three'
  34. "'One of the best': Joe Schmidt becomes an Irish citizen". The Journal. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 2 September 2015.

External links

Preceded by
Australia Les Kiss
Irish national rugby coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Michael Cheika
Leinster Rugby coach
Succeeded by
Matt O'Connor
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