The IRFU today announced that head coach Joe Schmidt has signed a contract extension to keep him in charge of the national side until June 30th, 2017.

The deal will see Schmidt stay in charge of the side for a further two Six Nations campaigns after the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Since Schmidt was took over as head coach the team earned a 78% win ratio, with 14 wins, and only four losses, which has led to consecutive Six Nations title victories.

When the Kiwi took over, having left his position at Leinster, the side has risen from eighth to third in the world rankings.

Speaking about the new deal, Schmidt said "I appreciate the support I have had from the IRFU and look forward to the next two challenging years with the national team.

"It has been great to be involved in such a player driven environment, along with such a skilled and positive staff to support them in their quest to be as competitive as possible."