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Sport

Ex-Ireland boss Schmidt named World Rugby's high performance director

FILE PHOTO - Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Quarter Final - New Zealand v Ireland - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - October 19, 2019 Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt reacts during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) - Former Ireland and Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt has been appointed World Rugby’s new Director of Rugby and High Performance and will take up the role from next month, the sport’s ruling body said on Thursday.

Schmidt, 55, guided Ireland to three Six Nations titles during a six-year spell at the helm, including the grand slam in 2018. He also oversaw their rise to the summit of the world rankings last year.

He stepped down from his role after the 2019 World Cup, where Ireland were eliminated in the quarter-finals by New Zealand.

New Zealand-born Schmidt also enjoyed a three-year spell with Leinster, guiding them to a PRO12 title, two European Cups and a Challenge Cup.

“We are delighted to appoint a person of Joe’s calibre, expertise and global credibility to this newly-created and strategically important position within the organisation,” World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said in a statement.

“It is fantastic to have an individual who has been at the forefront of the high-performance game management evolution at the very highest level for well over a decade.”

In his new role, Schmidt will lead a department responsible for high performance, match officials and technical services functions, including player welfare, training and education.

“I’m really looking forward to getting started. 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,” Schmidt said.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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