Former Ireland coach Schmidt joining All Blacks staff

Source: 1News

The All Blacks will add an old foe to their brains trust for the 2022 season with former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt being welcomed into the setup.

Joe Schmidt.

The All Blacks confirmed in a statement Tuesday afternoon Schmidt, the mastermind behind Ireland's first two victories over the All Blacks ever, will join New Zealand as Grant Fox's replacement as an independent selector.

“Joe will bring a wealth of New Zealand and international experience into the role, so we are delighted to have him join us," All Blacks coach Ian Foster said.

"He will work closely with me and ‘Plums’ on selections but his insights will be valuable in other areas as well, so we look forward to having him join us.”

NZME reports part of Schmidt's role will be in helping coach Ian Foster analyse opposition to develop strategies before games which will be particularly useful against European teams given Schmidt's seven-year tenure at the helm of Ireland.

In his time as head coach of the Irish, Schmidt led the side to three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and saw the side earn the No.1 world rank for the first time.

It's understood Foster had previously approached Schmidt about joining his staff when he finished up with Ireland after the 2019 season but he declined at the time to take a break from international rugby to be with his family.

Foster confirmed on Tuesday that Fox had planned to leave his role as Independent Selector following Rugby World Cup 2019, but he was delighted that he’d been able to convince him to stay until early next year.

“Foxy has been huge for me personally and for the team as a whole and we were so grateful to have him involved for longer than expected," he said.

"He says now is the time for him to fully focus on his family and business interests. We will farewell him closer to the time when he finishes up next year.”

Schmidt said he was delighted to join the setup.

“It’s humbling to be involved and I’m looking forward to learning more about the players and the All Blacks environment and helping out as best I can."

Schmidt's inside knowledge from Europe also helps as the All Blacks are under pressure heading into next year after finishing an otherwise decent 2021 with disappointing back-to-back defeats to Ireland and France on their Northern Tour.

A review into the All Blacks' 2021 season is currently underway at New Zealand Rugby but findings about the campaign won't be known until 2022.

NZR have already stated that they back Foster, who early this year signed an extension until the end of 2023, despite the results.

Schmidt had already cemented a spot in New Zealand rugby for the 2022 season after signing a one-year deal as an assistant at the Blues.