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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hails Stephen Hilditch at glittering Grosvenor bash

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was on hand to help Grosvenor RFC celebrate the appointment of club stalwart - and former international referee - Stephen Hilditch as President of the IRFU.

Held at the club's new home at Malone, Schmidt attended a special dinner in Hilditch's honour and the Kiwi was presented with a framed caricature of himself in Grosvenor garb.

The two-time Six Nations winner hailed Hilditch's (above) contribution to Irish Rugby with the former headmaster having aided the Ulster Branch and IRFU for almost 30 years.

"I was delighted to come up to mark the event in Stephen's home club," said the former Leinster supremo.

"I've known him for many years and apart from being right all the time, of course, he is also held in the highest regard in World Rugby circles."

As a player, Hilditch was forced into early retirement due to a chronic back problem but quickly turned his attention to refereeing.

He was in charge of 18 Tests in a distinguished career that included three World Cups.

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