Reds coach Ewen McKenzie.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie. Phil Walter / Getty Images

McKenzie misses out while Schmidt lands Irish coaching gig

NEW Zealander Joe Schmidt will take over as coach of Ireland, edging out Aussies Les Kiss and Ewen McKenzie for the job.

The 48-year-old Schmidt, who coached Irish side Leinster to Heineken Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2012, has signed on until the end of the 2015-16 season.

Kiss, a former North Sydney Bears winger who is now Ireland's defence coach, will take charge of the national team on the coming tour of the US and Canada.

Formerly a headmaster in New Zealand, Schmidt was in charge of the New Zealand Schools side before coaching Bay of Plenty in 2003, guiding them to the Ranfurly Shield.

He was an assistant at the Auckland Blues before moving to French side Clermont and then taking on the top job at Leinster.

Leicester coach Matt O'Connor, a backs coach at the Brumbies for four years before heading to England, is favoured to take over from Schmidt at Leinster.

McKenzie, who will finish as director of coaching at the Queensland Reds after this Super Rugby season, said last month the Irish head coaching job was the sort of role he was interested in, but added coaching the Wallabies was his main priority.