Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has been hailed by former Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara for his impact in the Irish team terming him as crucial to the nation’s success.
The 53 year old born in New Zealand also carries an Irish citizenship. He took took charge of the Irish team in 2013 and since then he has led the side to three six nations championships, the most recent coming in 2018.
The last season saw Ireland affirm themselves as the team to beat with dramatic test victory over France early in the year that Ronan terms as a remarkable show of Schmidt’s work.
“The fatigue levels at 80 minutes in a Test match, heart going 180 to 200 beats a minute…it’s a fair achievement,” he told Virgin Media, the Guinness Six Nations host broadcaster in Ireland in an interview. “A fair achievement? That could be the understatement of the season!”
The most memorable moment of the year to many will still remain to be Ireland’s historic win over the All Blacks, the first on Irish soil to mark the end of a successful year where they also defeated Wales, Scotland, England and Australia.
“What the IRFU and the boys are doing now would make you very proud to be Irish,” O’Gara the now Crusaders assistant coach continued.
“We haven’t seen anything like him – that’s the great thing about it.
“He’s come in, he knows what world class is and he realises that he has a group of players who are world class. And then he convinces his players of that.”
Schmidt was named World Rugby Coach of the year, Ireland the World Rugby Team of the year while fly half Jonathan Sexton bagged the World Rugby Player Of the year. What a year for Irish rugby and most importantly for the man in charge Joe Schmidt.