Joe Schmidt to step down as Ireland coach after 2019 World Cup
The news broke on Monday morning.
It has been confirmed that Joe Schmidt will step down as coach of the Irish rugby team after the Rugby World Cup next year.
Andy Farrell will replace Schmidt as head coach after the tournament in Japan.
Farrell has worked alongside Schmidt as Ireland's defence coach in recent years, and has also recently been involved with Munster in ad advisory role.
After much speculation about Schmidt's future, the IRFU confirmed the news on Monday morning.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 26, 2018
In a statement, Schmidt said: "I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019.
"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled has been uplifting.
"Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland.
"There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there's plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible."
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.
"Joe has travelled to clubs throughout the country, assisted with our sponsor programme and attended a huge number of charity events, helping to raise vital funding for those who need it most.
"Sport has the ability to lift people out of the day-to-day concerns of life and Joe, and his team, have provided historic moments of great joy, that will live long in the memories of everyone in the rugby family.
"Of course, this is not yet the end, and we look forward an exciting and challenging 11 months for Irish Rugby during Joe's final Six Nations and the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
"On a personal level, I would like to thank Joe for his warmth, his time, honesty and his genuine interest in everything that we do in Irish Rugby to grow the game."
The news came just a number of hours after Schmidt was crowned as World Rugby Coach of the Year and Ireland were named as Team of the Year at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco.
Jonathan Sexton was named World Player of the Year at the ceremony, marking an incredible night for the Irish rugby team after an amazing 2018.