Rugby: Joe Schmidt signs Irish contract extension - reports

Joe Schmidt. Photo / Duncan Brown.
Joe Schmidt. Photo / Duncan Brown.

Joe Schmidt has reportedly signed a contract extension that will see him remain as Ireland head coach until the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The 50-year-old Kiwi had been linked to both the Chiefs and Highlanders, who have vacancies in 2018, but Schmidt has committed to remain in the job he took over in 2013.

His future had been uncertain but the Irish Independent reported that he had informed
senior players he will lead them at the World Cup in Japan in three years' time.

The newspaper reported that an announcement is expected soon from the Irish Rugby Football Union. His current deal runs until next June but an extension has long been on the table.

Schmidt guided Ireland to Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015 but they were beaten by Argentina in the quarter-finals at last year's world tournament. This year, Schmidt led Ireland to their first ever on South African soil with a 26-20 win in the first test despite playing 50 minutes with only 14 players.

South Africa fought back to claim the series 2-1.

He ruled himself out of coaching the Lions for next year's tour of New Zealand - a role fellow Kiwi Warren Gatland was appointed to this week - and appears to have now re-committed to Ireland.

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