Schmidt appointed in new World Rugby high performance role

Joe Schmidt 16/3/2019
Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been announced as World Rugby’s new Director of Rugby and High Performance.

Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been announced as World Rugby’s new Director of Rugby and High Performance.

Schmidt, who won a Championship Grand Slam with Ireland in 2018, will head up a new department in the international federation responsible for high performance, match officials and technical services.

Named World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2018, Schmidt’s duties will also include player welfare as well as training and education when he joins World Rugby in November.

He will be based at the organisation’s headquarters in Dublin, a place familiar to Schmidt having spent over nine years in the city coaching Leinster (2010-13) and Ireland (2013-19).

Schmidt led Ireland to three Guinness Six Nations titles during his six-year spell in charge, completing the clean sweep in the 2018 Championship to clinch the Grand Slam.

During a period of unprecedented success for the national team under Schmidt, Ireland also reached number one in the World Rugby men’s rankings for the first time in September 2019.

Before arriving at Ireland, Schmidt also won a PRO12 title, two European Cups and a Challenge Cup during his time at Leinster and was assistant at Clermont as they won the Top 14 in 2010.

Schmidt has already made key contributions to World Rugby’s game development innovations, including guidance on player load and the current breakdown working group.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started,” Schmidt said. “I’m passionate about the game and keen that people continue to enjoy being involved in it, from the young to the young at heart.

“The professional game is the showpiece for our sport and involving key stakeholders in our discussions about how the game is played and how players are managed will be beneficial.

“It has been a challenging year thus far and likely to remain difficult for some time, but it has been great to see the resumption of numerous competitions, with plenty of entertaining and exciting matches.”

In the role, Schmidt will lead a new Rugby and High Performance Department, reporting to Chief Executive Brett Gosper within a restructure that reflects the organisation’s objective of further engaging coaches, players and match officials in the decision-making process, as it seeks to make the sport simpler, safer and more enjoyable for both participants and spectators.

Gosper said: “We are delighted to appoint a person of Joe’s calibre, expertise and global credibility to this newly-created and strategically important position within the organisation.

“As an international federation we must strive to continually increase our connection and collaboration with the most important stakeholders in our game – players, coaches, match officials, unions and, of course, fans.

“It is fantastic to have an individual who has been at the forefront of the high-performance game management evolution at the very highest level for well over a decade.

“With international rugby set to restart this weekend and less than a year to go until Rugby World Cup 2021 kicks off in New Zealand and rugby sevens showcases itself at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Joe joins us at a very exciting time for the sport, which continues to advance and grow rapidly across the globe.”