Joe Schmidt returns to coaching role in New Zealand with the Blues

Joe Schmidt is back in the coaching game.

Former Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has returned to coaching in professional rugby, taking up a role with the Blues in New Zealand.

Schmidt, who steered Ireland to a Grand Slam win during his tenure – and three Six Nations titles – recently left a role with World Rugby in September to spend more time at home with his family.

But he is now back in professional rugby, taking on a ‘support coach’ role to help head coach Leon MacDonald ahead of the new season.

Joe Schmidt returns to coaching.

Schmidt previously worked with the Blues before moving to Clermont Auvergne in 2007, and he is content to return home after a spell away from the club.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back and helping out the coaching staff at the Blues,” said Schmidt.

“I know pretty much the whole crew and it’s a nice fit stepping in for Tana, who I greatly respect. I have really enjoyed getting to know Leon. He is doing a great job and has got the team in a really good place after their success this year.

“I’ve also got a lot of time for Ice (McGrath) and look forward to linking up with him again.”

Joe Schmidt.

Schmidt left his role as Ireland boss in the aftermath of the 2019 Rugby World Cup that ended in bitter disappointment for Ireland in Japan.

While managing Ireland in his last major tournament, Schmidt oversaw a defeat to Japan, and also ended his reign in charge with a sobering loss against New Zealand.

His last year in charge was not without success, however, as he brought Ireland to number one in the world early on in the year. He also helped bring Ireland’s first ever win against New Zealand in 2016 along with his three Six Nations triumphs.

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