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Former Ireland coach named as World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance

BY Grant Constable  ·  Thursday Oct 8, 2020

Joe Schmidt has today been appointed as the World Rugby’s Director of Rugby and High Performance. Schmidt will head up a new department in the international federation responsible for the high performance, match officials and technical services functions, including player welfare as well as training and education. He will join World Rugby in November.

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Schmidt, who was named World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2018, is no stranger to Dublin where the organisation’s headquarters are based, having spent over nine years there, coaching Leinster (2010-13) and Ireland (2013-19).

Schmidt has already made important contributions to World Rugby’s game development innovations by participating in several working groups, including guidance on player load and the current breakdown working group, which have been beneficial to player welfare.

In the role, Schmidt will lead a new Rugby and High Performance Department, reporting to Chief Executive Brett Gosper within a restructure that reflects the organisation’s objective of further engaging coaches, players and match officials in the decision-making process, as it seeks to make the sport simpler, safer and more enjoyable for both participants and spectators.

Schmidt said:

“I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’m passionate about the game and keen that people continue to enjoy being involved in it, from the young to the young at heart.

“The professional game is the showpiece for our sport and involving key stakeholders in our discussions about how the game is played and how players are managed will be beneficial.

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“It has been a challenging year thus far and likely to remain difficult for some time, but it has been great to see the resumption of numerous competitions, with plenty of entertaining and exciting matches.”

World Rugby Vice-Chairman and High Performance Rugby and Community Rugby Committees Chairman Bernard Laporte said:

“I warmly welcome Joe to this important, newly-created role, leading the new Rugby and High Performance department. Joe is a great technician and a big-picture thinker.

“His expertise is perfectly suited to the High Performance Rugby Committee’s ambition of making the game even more attractive and accessible to all, while ensuring the highest standards of player welfare. Having Joe’s world-class level of technical game leadership at World Rugby is essential to drive this vision with stakeholders.”

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