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Newly appointed Rugby Australia Head Coach Joe Schmidt in front of the Rugby Australia head office in Sydney on Friday. Image Credit: AFP

Sydney: Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will take over as the new Wallabies coach to replace Eddie Jones, governing body Rugby Australia said on Friday.

Jones acrimoniously quit in October after the team’s calamitous World Cup campaign, just 10 months into a five-year contract, having won just two from nine Tests. He has since been hired by Japan.

Schmidt will coach the Wallabies from March 1 until at least the conclusion of the British and Irish Lions Tour in 2025, Rugby Australia said in a statement.

Plenty of challenges

“I am conscious that the Wallabies have weathered a difficult period, and I am keen to help them build a way forward, with greater alignment and clear direction from RA,” Schmidt said.

“The upcoming Test matches against Wales will arrive quickly, post-Super Rugby, and the programme through to the British and Irish Lions Tour next year presents plenty of opportunities and challenges — which I am sure will invigorate players and staff,” he wrote in a statement.

Last month, long-serving World Rugby administrator Peter Horne was appointed as RA’s new director of high-performance, with David Nucifora returning home from his role as high-performance director with Ireland to help.

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Joe Schmidt with Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh (right) and Director of High-Performance Peter Horne after the announcement. Image Credit: AFP

‘Ideal fit’

Both men have strong relationships with 58-year-old Schmidt, who coached Ireland from 2013 to 2019 and was instrumental in helping them become the No 1-ranked team in the world.

More recently, he worked with the All Blacks at the last World Cup, where they finished runners-up to South Africa.

“It was a unanimous decision to appoint Joe — everyone on the panel was impressed by his demeanour, his calm and logical approach to the game, as well as his communication style,” Horne said.

Structural reform

“Throughout his career, Joe has demonstrated an ability to take a leadership role in structural reform while developing a strong culture and world-class players,” he added.

“From my personal experience working with Joe at World Rugby, he is an ideal fit for the Wallabies and Australian Rugby at this time, and I am looking forward to working closely with him on developing a stronger alignment with our Super Rugby clubs to maximise our performances.”

Australia have 18 months to prepare for a British and Irish Lions tour in 2025 and will host the men’s World Cup two years after that.

Wales are due to tour Australia in July.