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Exciting challenges for Schmidt and Ireland

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    19 Mar 2018     Getty Images

It's just the latest highlight in a career which has seen him pick off many notable prizes in the rugby world include his first big one, the Ranfurly Shield with Bay of Plenty, a prize that had taken more than 100 years to achieve.

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When coaching Leinster over three years the side reached six finals and won consecutive European Cups. In five years with Ireland he had completed three Six Nation Championship titles.

But in the wake of Saturday's win at Twickenham he said, "It's hard for it not to be the high point, because right here, right now, it's a little bit of history.

"We started this a calendar year ago in the last round of the Six Nations. It's a really neat story of a year that has managed to see us win every game that we played, which is incredibly special. It's also seen us to 12 games breaking new ground consecutively," he told the Irish media.

Should they back up with a 3-0 series win over Australia they stand to have a chance of equalling the world Test record of 18 wins shared by New Zealand and England, when they meet the All Blacks in Dublin on November 17.
"We'll get ourselves back together…you don't quite know what condition or how many you're going to get together to go to the next place.

"We'll play in very different conditions in Australia. Australia will be hugely motivated to bounce back from what's been a relatively tough time for them and get a really good start in preparation for their Rugby Championship," he said.

But back to the emotion of the Grand Slam completion, he said, "It's really hard to equate anything with this. When I was a kid I used to watch Five Nations on TV and think these places were on a whole different planet with those massive crowds. It's pretty hard when you're born in Kawakawa, 1400 people and you've shifted to the metropolis of Woodville, 1600 people.

"It's huge. This is massive and it's massive for the group of players that we've got."

And rising star, wing Jacob Stockdale said, "Joe [Schmidt] hasn't said 'New Zealand is the target' but your ambition is to be the best team in the world and to do that you have to beat the best team in the world.

"At the minute that's New Zealand," he said.