Guest Speaker is New Zealand born Joe Schmidt , currently the head coach of the Ireland International Rugby team.
Joe was born in Kawakawa in the Northland region of New Zealand but grew up from the age of 6 years in Woodville, a small town in the lower half of the North Island.
An English teacher by profession, Joe coached the Palmerston North Boys’ High School First XV to their first ever National Secondary Schools Final in 1996. After again getting through to the final again in 1997 he took a coaching role with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Team in 1997.
In 2003, he became assistant coach of the Bay of Plenty team in the National Provincial Championship, with them winning the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in their history in 2004. Shifting to Auckland he coached in Super Rugby with the Auckland Blues before joining French Top 14 side ASM Clermont Auvergne as assistant coach. ASM reached the Top 14 final in each of the three years Joe was there, finally capturing the Bouclier de Brennus for the first time in the Club’s history in his final season.
Joe moved to Dublin as head coach of Leinster and between 2011 and 2013 they played six finals, winning the Heineken Cup twice, the Amlin Challenge Cup and a Pro12 title. Appointed as Ireland head coach at the start of the 2013/14 season the National team won the RBS 6 Nations Championships in 2014 and 2015. Under Joe’s stewardship Ireland won their first ever Test series in the southern Hemisphere against Argentina in 2014 and in 2016 secured the first ever Test victory in South Africa and ended Ireland’s 111 year wait for a victory over New Zealand.
Joe is married to Kelly and has four children.