Rugby

Joe Schmidt - A Hard Act To Follow

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

09:19 26 Nov 2018


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So it's official. Ireland's most successful rugby coach is exiting.

And it seems exiting the game entirely, for a while anyway.

When do you decide to walk away from something?

Choosing a time is nearly as important as the decision itself.

What about Joe's timing? Could it have been sweeter?

After winning the Grand Slam and beating the All Blacks in 2018, Ireland named team of the year, and the man himself, the Coach of the Year award.

Johnny Sexton ended seven years of New Zealand dominance by becoming the first Irish man since 2001 to be named World Player of the Year.

With Johnny struggling with a chest infection Rory Best was called on to deliver his acceptance speech paying particular credit to his wife Laura.

Joe was the common thread through all the achievements.

By his own reckoning sequencing the player recruitment and game management with the provinces a key platform for his success here.

Joe leaves with his reputation enhanced, and the structures to enable his successor keep the momentum going.

Surely the FAI must be thinking - thats a good blueprint for an Irish sporting body.

Not that it's all down to pounds, shillings and pence but IRFU revenues are twice those of their soccer equivalent here.

For Joe, the key line seems to be "I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019.''

That suggests he may not involved in the sport in the future.

Hopefully for the world game it is just allowing for a sabbatical.

But as anyone who has been dealing with family issues in whatever form, be they illness or otherwise, will tell you, there are some things in life more important than money.

Family being the number 1. Good luck Joe. Thanks for the memories. And relish every moment with the family.

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