Joe Schmidt admitted his delight at extending his tenure with Ireland after agreeing to continue his role as head coach up to the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Schmidt – who’s homeland is New Zealand where the 2017 British & Irish Lions will tour – was first appointed Ireland head coach in 2013.
Pre-order your Jersey at the Official Lions store
And he has enjoyed plenty of success since, claiming back-to-back RBS 6 Nations titles in 2014 and 2015, as well as a first Test series win in the southern hemisphere against Argentina in the former year.
That was followed by a first-ever Test victory over the Springboks in South Africa at the end of the 2015/16 season and the Irish Rugby Football Union confirmed the 51-year-old will be sticking around for a little while longer.
"I'd like to thank the IRFU for their patience and confidence as the decision to continue took somewhat longer than I'd anticipated,” said Schmidt, who has used 71 players during his time in charge of Ireland, including handing out 26 new caps.
“It is difficult at times being so far away from extended family but we appreciate how lucky we are to have the support we have here in Ireland.
Joe Schmidt commits to @IrishRugby for #RWC2019 #ShoulderToShoulder https://t.co/Qy2i8wdQgh pic.twitter.com/nNqxLyRAQL
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) 24 October 2016
"The strength of the rugby community has been incredibly visible over the past week and the enthusiasm of management and players to improve and compete is complemented by a really positive camaraderie.
"The wider community has made us welcome and as a family we have benefited immensely from their support.
"Looking forward, there are positive signs with the Under-20s finalists at the World U-20 Championship this year, the provinces topping three of the five European Champions Cup pools as well as Ulster and Leinster sharing the lead of the Pro12 at present.
"With the series about to begin, facing a dominant New Zealand team along with Canada and Australia is going to be a tremendous challenge."