by Joe Schmidt
'He's a great coach. He lives and breathes the game. There's nothing he doesn't know.' Brian O'Driscoll
In the autumn of 2010, a little-known New Zealander called Joe Schmidt took over as head coach at Leinster. He had never been in charge of a professional team. After Leinster lost three of their first four games, a prominent Irish rugby pundit speculated that Schmidt had 'lost the dressing room'. Nine years on, Joe Schmidt has stepped down as Ireland coach having achieved success on a scale never before seen in Irish rugby. Two Heineken Cups in three seasons with Leinster. Three Six Nations championships in six seasons with Ireland, including the Grand Slam in 2018. And a host of firsts: the first Irish victory in South Africa; the first Irish defeat of the All Blacks, and then a second; and Ireland's first number 1 world ranking. Along the way, Schmidt became a byword for precision and focus in coaching, remarkable attention to detail and the highest of standards. But who is Joe Schmidt?
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Date of Publication: 20/11/2019