AFPDUBLIN (AFP-Jiji) — Joe Schmidt is too canny to set targets publicly but he admits he dreams of bowing out as Ireland head coach by taking them to their first-ever Rugby World Cup semifinal.
The 53-year-old New Zealander — who will take his team to the sport’s quadrennial showpiece in Japan as the world No.1 ranked team — ends a remarkable six-year tenure when the tournament ends.
During that time he has guided the Irish to victories over all the Southern Hemisphere nations — the pinnacle two historic wins over world champions New Zealand — and three Six Nations titles including only the third Grand Slam in their history last year.
Hence his desire to be the first coach to succeed in taking Ireland beyond the World Cup quarterfinals — arguably his greatest disappointment is the manner in which Argentina blitzed the Irish in the 2015 last eight clash.
“Yes we would love to make that semifinal and I don’t set goals,” he said following Saturday’s 19-10 victory over Wales to confirm their place at the top of the rankings.
“So it is not even a goal, it is a dream I have that I would love to see come to fruition.
Schmidt, who turned the Irish around in their last three warm-up tests with back to back wins over the Welsh after a 57-15 thrashing by England, says it is important for the country to make the last four.Speech