Joe Schmidt set to be named Australia head coach

Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is set to take over as Wallabies coach, according to reports in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this morning that Schmidt is set to be announced by Rugby Australia in the coming days, with only the paperwork left to be finalised.

Influential Australian sports website ‘The Roar’ described the deal as “essentially done”.

If confirmed, Schmidt will succeed Eddie Jones after the latter’s disastrous second stint in charge, and will become the third New Zealander to coach Australia after Robbie Deans and Dave Rennie.

He will also be linking up with former IRFU colleague, David Nucifora, who is returning to his native Australia to take up an advisory role with Rugby Australia this summer.

The 58-year-old most recently served as assistant head coach of New Zealand, assuming the role in the wake of their 2022 series defeat to Ireland and helping guide the team to the 2023 Rugby World Cup final alongside Ian Foster.

Schmidt’s most high profile role, and the one which is most cited by his admirers down south, was his six-year stint as head coach of Ireland between 2013 and 2019, where he presided over three Six Nations wins and a Grand Slam success in 2018.

Schmidt enjoyed a successful stint as Ireland manager.

During his tenure, Ireland beat New Zealand for the first time in 2016, before doing so again in 2018. The side reached No. 1 in the world in 2019 before their form collapsed at that year’s World Cup in Japan exiting at the quarter-final stage yet again at the hands of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Richard Cockerill has been appointed head coach of the Georgia national team.

The 53-year-old former England forwards coach, who led Leicester Tigers to three Premiership titles in eight years, has signed a contract which could see him charge through to the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

He will combine his duties with a similar role at Tbilisi-based franchise Black Lion, who are currently competing in the European Challenge Cup.

The ex-England hooker said: “I’m really excited and honoured to be taking on the role of Georgian head coach.

“This is a fantastic rugby country blessed with talented players, a great tradition, and an impressive infrastructure. I’m looking forward to working with players, coaches and officials and I’m confident we can take Georgia to the next level internationally.

“There’s a lot of talk about Tier One and Tier Two, but it’s my view that the lines are blurred these days and there should be more opportunities for up-and-coming rugby nations.”

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