VIDEO: Joe Schmidt makes vow to Wallabies as contract details emerge
SPOTLIGHT: Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt vowed to “get Australia up and running” after being named as the new Wallabies boss, replacing 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 (RA) announced.
“I thought it was a good opportunity to try to pitch in and get Australia up and running,” Schmidt told a news conference.
The Wallabies in the World Cup were “not an Australian team that I recognised”, he said. “That was when it first really came on my radar.”
“It’s a rebuild that will take a little bit of time and I’m probably a pragmatist – I can’t promise anything other than I’ll be working really hard to try to make it as successful as it can be,” the incoming coach said.
“I’m also a realistic coach – you are judged on your outcomes and you live or die by them.”
Asked if he would have preferred a longer contract, Schmidt said the new role would mean him spending less time at home helping his son, who “suffers quite badly with epilepsy”.
“If we can get the job done over the next 18 months and we can get the momentum heading in the right direction, then I will feel like have done my part of it and I’ll be happy to hand on.”
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 Ireland’s High-Performance Director 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 No.1 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 in a statement.
“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 teams to maximise our performances.”
Australia have 18 months to prepare for the B&I 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 CEO Phil Waugh praised Schmidt’s record, notably with Ireland and the All Blacks.
“With the appointment of Joe Schmidt as head coach, it’s a really exciting time for the Wallabies and also for rugby in Australia,” Waugh told reporters.
“Joe brings with him an enormous amount of experience, but also an enormous amount of success with each team that Joe has coached,” he said.
Rugby Australia said details of coaching staff appointments would be announced later.