Ireland's new head coach elect Andy Farrell has spoken of the 'privilege' of being named Joe Schmidt's successor.
Farrell, who is currently Schmidt’s defence coach with Ireland, will replace his boss when the New Zealander steps down after new year’s World Cup in Japan.
Schmidt today confirmed that he is ‘leaving coaching’ in order to spend more time with his family and the IRFU swiftly announced Farrell as the next man in.
"It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role," Farrell told the IRFU.
"I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019."
It will be a baptism of fire for former England international Farrell, who has worked alongside Schmidt since 2016, but will step up to take his first job as a head coach with Ireland.
However Schmidt and the IRFU are confident that Farrell is ready to make the move and that he’ll provide stability and ensure a continuation of the structures and systems already in place.
"The coaches have been fantastic to work with and Andy has made a big impact since coming into the group," said Schmidt.
"His ability to lead and his understanding of the game will ensure that the group will continue to move forward."
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne is similarly convinced that Farrell will be able to build upon the foundations that Schmidt has laid and said: ""We are incredibly fortunate to have a coach of the calibre of Andy Farrell in Irish Rugby.
"He has proven through his work ethic and success with Ireland and the Lions over the last number of years that he is the person to take Irish Rugby forward after RWC 2019.
"The close working relationship that our current coaching group have and what they will continue to gain over the next year with Joe still at the helm leaves Andy and Irish Rugby in the enviable position of having continuity before building the road forward.
"This appointment provides certainty and continuity beyond RWC19 with Andy leading the coaching group through the next World Cup cycle to the 2023 tournament in France."
Farrell willl be in the unique position of leading a national side against his son if outhalf Owen (27) is still in an England jersey for the 2020 Six Nations.