Coach Joe Schmidt Granted Irish Citizenship

He has long been considered an honorary Irishman in the eyes of rugby fans. But Ireland’s head coach Woodville-born Joe Schmidt, 49, was made an official Irish citizen in a special ceremony organised by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Schmidt, who recently signed a contract extending his current tenure until 2017, said the naturalisation process has made him feel more Irish.

“I feel a little bit Irish anyway, and our family now also has a bit of Irishness about it,” Schmidt said.

Welcoming the new citizens, Fitzgerald said the ceremony was “a bit different” to the larger scale events that are normally held for new citizens.

“We’re welcoming new citizens today who have already contributed to Ireland’s sense of itself. People in rugby tell me that Joe does an untold amount of work behind the scenes to support grassroots rugby in Ireland, quietly declining offered payment,” she said.

Schmidt’s first head coaching role in Europe was with Leinster Rugby. He has been with the Irish side since 2013.

Original article by Robin Schiller, Irish Independent, September 3, 2015.

Tags: Irish citizenship  Irish Independent  Joe Schmidt  Leinster Rugby  

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Dunedin Swimmer Erika Fairweather Wins in Doha

Erika Fairweather has won her maiden swimming world championship title with victory in the women’s 400m freestyle final in Doha. The 20-year-old from Dunedin is the first New Zealander to win…