World rugby's 2018 coach of the year Joe Schmidt will speak at a fundraising dinner in Hawke's Bay in April.
"There's a lot of excitement and hype around Joe including speculation he will be a contender for the All Blacks head coach job. Not many people would have heard him speak so this is a great opportunity for that," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union's commercial manager Dan Somerville said yesterday when announcing the April 5 date for the function to be staged at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds exhibition hall in Hastings.
"This is a huge coup as we will get him just after his Six Nations campaign with Ireland and before he returns to the United Kingdom to complete his preparation for the World Cup in Japan," Somerville said.
"With no Super Rugby games being staged in the Bay this year we feel this function will provide the ideal opportunity for our sponsors to host their clients and mates. Joe was the best person we could think of to be the guest speaker."
Somerville was coached by Schmidt during his days at Napier Boys' High School and Dave Syms, the father of Magpies assistant coach Josh Syms, has also coached with Schmidt in the past.
Woodville-raised Schmidt was a teacher at NBHS from 1998 to 2000. He coached the NBHS first XV in 1999 and 2000. After his stint at NBHS Schmidt went on to coach Tauranga Boys' College before having assistant coach roles with Bay of Plenty, the Blues and Clermont in France.
From 2010 to 2013 he was head coach of Leinster and he has been head coach of Ireland since 2013.
Since he has been in charge of Ireland they have won three Six Nations Championships and beaten the All Blacks twice - 16-9 in Dublin last November and 40-29 in Chicago in 2016.
"The Hawke's Bay union is honoured to have Joe involved with this event and it provides an outstanding opportunity for our rugby mad community to learn a little from his success and what motivates and drives him. The timing of the evening is perfect as anticipation builds toward the Rugby World Cup especially given his Irish team are being talked up as one of the sides to beat.
"We look forward to seeing many of our commercial partners and members and encourage all Hawke's Bay businesses to join us as we kick off another exciting year for rugby in Hawke's Bay," union CEO Jay Campbell said.
Another feature of the function will be a mixed live and silent charity auction featuring world class sports memorabilia and unmatchable experiences.
A list of the items available will be distributed within the coming weeks and anyone keen to donate items can do so.
Proceeds from the auction will benefit The Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sports Trust.
The function will cater for 500 people. Tables of six, eight or 10 people will be sold at $185 (including GST) per person and discounts will apply for 2019 Magpies sponsors and members.
Tickets will include a three course meal, a selection of complimentary non and alcoholic beverages, live entertainment and the charity auction.
Tickets are on sale until March 29 from the HBRU office at McLean Park or by contacting Becs Warren email@example.com or phone 06 835 7617.