Joe Schmidt to remain as Ireland's head coach until 2019

The New Zealander will remain in the job until the Rugby World Cup in Japan

Joe Schmidt to remain as Ireland's head coach until 2019

Ireland’s head coach Joe Schmidt Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The IRFU have announced that Joe Schmidt is to stay as Ireland's head coach until the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Schmidt, took charge of Ireland in 2013, and led the team to Six Nations titles in 2014 and 2015. The team reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, before losing to Argentina.

"I'd like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated", Schmidt said.

"It is difficult at times being so far away from extended family but we appreciate how lucky we are to have the support we have here in Ireland."

"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie."

Following reports of interest from his native New Zealand, Schmidt may have left Ireland to return home with his family, but has decided to stay with the team until the conclusion of Ireland's involvement in the Rugby World Cup in three years time.

The news of Schmidt committing to three more years will come as great news to Irish fans and the IRFU, after a testing week for the sport in Ireland.

With four games coming up next month, including two against World Champions New Zealand, Schmidt's path to the Rugby World Cup in three years time, with around only 30 Test matches to go until Ireland's opening game in Japan.