Rugby

Joe Schmidt Recalls Remarkable Experience With His Son During Early Days In Ireland

Joe Schmidt Recalls Remarkable Experience With His Son During Early Days In Ireland

While the World Cup is still on the horizon, we can begin to reflect on Joe Schmidt's time in Ireland as it enters now that it enters its final few months.

The Kiwi has had a bigger impact on Irish rugby than perhaps any other person in the past few decades, building winning cultures at both Leinster and Ireland. He will leave his post as Ireland coach after the tournament in Japan, but he will always have ties to this country.

He received citizenship four years ago, and has certainly integrated himself into Irish society. He is one of our own at this stage.

Speaking at the Irish Rugby Awards earlier this week, Schmidt described how welcome him and his family had been in this country. He also described the amazing treat his son Luke, who suffers from epilepsy, had received from his peers.

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I remember a long time ago taking the Heineken Cup to a school, and they were taking class photographs with the Heineken Cup when Luke had a seizure. The way the kids reacted was incredible.

I stood back and just watched, because when he collapsed seizing and they caught him, made sure he was comfortable. He came out of the seizure about ten seconds later, they propped him up, took the photo and everybody moved on. I just thought it was brilliant.

Very early in our time, may two or three months in, I was walking down the street towards Dundrum. Two or three people came past and they said 'hi Joe', and my wife said 'wow, we've hardly been here long and you know all these people'.

I said 'no, I've never met these people before', but you just got adopted so quickly and you have a sense of belonging, it allows you to be comfortable in a place.

It's nice to be able to say I've been Irish for four years. I might be plastic Irish, but I'm delighted to be so.

What a man. No matter what Schmidt goes onto do during the next stage of his career, he will always be welcome with open arms in this country.

SEE ALSO: Report: Munster Set To Lose Another Backroom Staff Member As Upheaval Continues

Gary Connaughton

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