Eddie O'Sullivan gives his take on Joe Schmidt staying on as Ireland head coach until 2019

Ex-national team head coach on Monday's announcement

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Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has welcomed the development that has seen the IRFU being able to announce that Joe Schmidt is staying in his current role.

The New Zealander will remain in the Ireland head coach job until the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019 after months of speculation about his long-term future.

In his time in charge, Schmidt led Ireland to consecutive Six Nations triumphs in 2014 and 2015.

His first Rugby World Cup as head coach also saw his team reach the quarter-finals, before losing to Argentina in the Autumn of 2015.

In confirming that he was staying on as head coach, 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."

Eddie, who coached Ireland between 2001 and 2008, believes it is good business by the IRFU to retain the coach who has delivered two Six Nations triumphs.

"I thought it would probably have been locked up before now. I suppose they were waiting for what he wanted to do and it's been dragging on so long that I assumed it was done. But now it's nailed down so no major surprises there," he said on Off The Ball's Monday Night Rugby.

With fixtures against the All-Blacks on the horizon in November, the timing of the announcement is also important in terms of keeping focus on what matters on the field.

"They had to do something this week with the assembly coming up for the All-Blacks game. So they were right on the cusp of it. But it's done now and everyone just moves on. But if it had dragged into the Autumn, it could have been something probably at the back of players' minds. But it's locked and loaded now."