Rugby: Ex-All Blacks assistant Joe Schmidt confirmed as new Wallabies head coach

  • 19/01/2024
Joe Schmidt has been appointed as the Wallabies' new head coach.
Joe Schmidt has been appointed as the Wallabies' new head coach. Photo credit: Getty Images

Joe Schmidt has found his next gig - and it's conveniently located right across the Tasman.

The former All Blacks assistant coach has been confirmed as the new head coach of the Wallabies, after signing a two-year deal to helm the Australian side.

Schmidt, 58, replaces Eddie Jones as the latest to try to lift the Wallabies back among test rugby's elite teams.

"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," said Schmidt. 

"The upcoming Test matches against Wales will arrive quickly, post-Super Rugby, and the program 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.

"I am looking forward to connecting with Super Rugby coaches, RA staff, and getting to observe and meet players in the coming months."

Jones sensationally quit the role less than a year into his tenure, winning just two games in nine matches - including an historic exit from the World Cup in the group stage - before returning to Japan to reclaim the role of head coach of the Brave Blossoms. 

Ian Foster and Joe Schmidt.
Ian Foster and Joe Schmidt. Photo credit: Getty Images

Schmidt, 58, was linked with the Wallabies job since the appointment of Peter Horne as director of high performance and David Nucifora in an advisory role.  

Both he and Horne have worked together previously with World Rugby and could rekindle that relationship with Australia and Ireland respectively.

The Palmerston North product will become the third New Zealander to take on the Wallabies gig, following in the footsteps of Robbie Deans and Dave Rennie - who was fired 12 months before the World Cup - into the role.

Schmidt was a driving force in Ireland rising to a legitimate test rugby power. He led the Irish to three Six Nations titles, a Grand Slam, as well as a famous maiden test win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016, before repeating the dose two years later.

He entered the All Blacks set-up as part of a refreshed coaching staff under Ian Foster to try to revive the team after the lows of 2022, helping them to last year's World Cup final in France. 

He vacated that role after the tournament, with new head coach Scott Robertson bringing in his own regime.

Schmidt served as assistant coach to Ian Foster and the All Blacks, and was pivotal in the side's upturn in fortunes from the lows of 2022, to reaching this year's World Cup final in France. 

Schmidt has since vacated that role, as the All Blacks take a fresh approach with a new coaching staff under Scott Robertson from 2024.   

While he's been widely favoured to take up the role, Schmidt has had his detractors, with Australian-born Irish wing Mack Hansen warning Rugby Australia against appointing another New Zealander.