Ireland's Schmidt hints at departure after World Cup

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to announce post-World Cup plans next week

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt grateful for patience as he makes decision on his future

Schmidt, who was last night named World Rugby Coach of the Year, will leave after the 2019 World Cup.

Under Schmidt, who was named World Rugby's Coach of the Year on Sunday, Ireland have won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2018.

But the open, scrappy encounter was still a significant game for an nearly entirely new-look home side as wing Andrew Conway stood out with a hat-trick of tries while Jack Conan and Rhys Ruddock showed off Ireland's plethora of back row options.

Schmidt admitted he was happy with the nature of Ireland's victory, in closing out a November series of four wins on the spin.

Philip Browne, IRFU CEO, added: "I would like to thank Joe, and his family, on behalf of the IRFU Union Committee, all the staff of Irish Rugby and every rugby supporter, for everything he has done for the game in Ireland. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but wherever we have travelled has been uplifting". Garry Ringrose is the soul survivor from last weekend's starting line-up, with Munster powerhouse Tadhg Beirne handed a big chance to impress at lock.

Ireland completed a second successive autumn Test series clean sweep with Saturday's 54-17 win over the United States of America in Dublin. The smart money remains on Schmidt returning to New Zealand, with the All Blacks doubtless keen on his services in the long run.

New Zealander Schmidt had been regarded as a future All Blacks coach, but he has announced that he will end his coaching career following next autumn's tournament in Japan.

"So we've put our heads together and tried to reconcile how we can best, maybe, cater for both".

"I think to win it at Twickenham, which is an unbelievably tough place to go with all the pressure that is around, made the Grand Slam the highlight of the year".

They are going to be tough to beat at the World Cup but I think below that there are a number of teams that will say that they have a real chance of going to the World Cup and winning it. 'Tadhg (Beirne) has slotted in so well, coming off the bench a couple of times in Australia in the summer, and bedding in as part of the broader squad, ' said Schmidt. I want it to be one or the other really.

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