World Rugby has confirmed that former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been appointed as its new director of rugby and high performance.
Schmidt is set to head up a new department within the game’s governing body, which will focus on high performance, match officials and technical services functions, including player welfare as well as training and education.
In his new role, Schmidt will be reporting to World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper within a restructuring that reflects the organisation’s objective of further engaging coaches, players and match officials in the decision-making process.
The 2018 World Rugby Coach of the Year was in charge of Ireland between 2013 and 2019, leaving his role as the nation’s head coach after the 2019 World Cup for personal reasons.
His track record as one of the world’s leading coaches is well known, having coached Ireland to three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and helping them reach first place in the World Rugby rankings for the first time in September 2019.
During his three seasons as head coach of Leinster, the Irish province was a dominant force in European rugby, reaching six finals and winning four trophies, including a PRO12 title, two European Cups and a Challenge Cup.
‘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.’
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