Joe Schmidt has been appointed to succeed Declan Kidney as head coach of the Ireland rugby team.

The current Leinster head coach will take the Ireland position at the end of this season.

Schmidt has signed a three-year contract, which will cover the 2015 World Cup in England.

The New Zealander won two Heineken Cups with Leinster in 2011 and 2012.

Schmidt, 42, has led them to the final of this season's Amlin Challenge Cup.

Kidney's contract with the IRFU was not renewed after a disappointing Six Nations campaign.