Schmidt handed Leinster reins
December 29, 2009
Josef Schmidt will take over at Leinster next season © Getty Images
European champions Leinster have confirmed Clermont Auvergne backs coach Josef Schmidt as their new head coach, taking over from Australian Michael Cheika at the end of the season.
Cheika announced earlier in the season that he would not be renewing his contract with the Irish province, ending a five-year association that has produced victory in the Magners League as well as their 2009 Heineken Cup triumph over Leicester at Murrayfield.
Schmidt, 44, has been working in tandem with Clermont head coach Vern Cotter, guiding Les Jaunards to three successive Top 14 finals.
He spent a year in Ireland as a player with Leinster club Mullingar in the 1990s before cutting his coaching teeth with Bay of Plenty, winning the Ranfurly Shield, New Zealand Schools and the Blues at Super Rugby level.
"It's an enormous opportunity," he told AFP. "It's a new challenge for me and I hope that I can bring something to the team."
Cheika is yet to announce his plans for the future, but his name has been frequently linked in press reports with the troubled Melbourne Super 15 franchise.