Reports that circulated the web have been confirmed, as NZR sign Joe Schmidt to join the All Blacks as an Independent Selector from July 2022.
It is a coup for the New Zealand union, who have felt extreme examination after a contentious Northern Tour that only produced more questions than answers. With the ability to next season position a highly technical and well-respected coach like Joe Schmidt, has turned the conversation from ‘why’ to ‘how’. It is a strategy to shift the negatives that a summer of self-assessment would only bring from an end of season internal review, to close 2021 on a more positive note for the near future.
NZR sign Joe Schmidt to join All Blacks as Independent Selector
Grant Fox will be replaced by Joe Schmidt at the conclusion of the internal tour by Ireland next summer (New Zealand winter). Fox will be stepping down after next year’s Steinlager Series selection after a decade as a selector. Firstly under former head coach Steve Hansen and latterly alongside current coach Ian Foster and fellow selector John Plumtree.
From early reports circulating; prior to New Zealand Rugby (NZR) issuing their media statement, comments had been made that Schmidt may join the selection panel to face his former International test side, with many Irish websites wondering about the possibilities.
And Joe's first games with New Zealand will be against … Ireland!https://t.co/2Pd4NGOlX1
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 13, 2021
Aside from those initial misinterpretations, NZR made the terms clear in announcing the timing of the appointment, with Foster saying it was ‘exciting to have someone of Schmidt’s caliber to take on the role’ at the start of The Rugby Championship.
“Joe will bring a wealth of New Zealand and international experience into the role, so we are delighted to have him join us. 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.”
With news that NZR sign Joe Schmidt still sinking in, this new senior position will follow his recently announced placement domestically. Schmidt is currently working part-time with the Blues for next year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition as a ‘support coach’ to Leon MacDonald. He will then join the All Blacks, with his first All Blacks selection role to be helping select the squad for The Rugby Championship 2022.
Schmidt said: “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.”
Foster added that Grant 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. We will farewell him closer to the time when he finishes up next year.”
Full circle, as Joe Schmidt returns to NZ Rugby
The news that NZR sign Joe Schmidt has dovetailed the former Irish head coach’s career well. After his brief term as World Rugby Director of Rugby and advisory roles across the game, it seems that the home country where he returned for family reasons, is now where he can establish a new course with the All Blacks.
Having coached domestically, mostly in senior assistant positions before emigrating his talents offshore, it seems like an aplomb appointment. It also comes at a time when NZR desperately needs some positive public opinion to support any viable goal for [a possible] 2023 Rugby World Cup triumph.
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