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Best hopes Schmidt has inspired a crop of aspiring coaches

Rory Best in Japan
Rory Best in Japan

By Nick Purewal

Ireland's flock is all out of offerings to lay at the altar of Joe Schmidt.

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A new mural deifying Ireland's most successful coach in history brightens Phibsborough Road's Back Page pub in Dublin.

The Irish congregation's latest tribute carries more than a little space-age hue, Schmidt's visage embellished in cosmic coral.

The Kiwi boss' out-of-this-world Test record has converted all Ireland into disciples of the way of Schmidt; the 53-year-old landing three Six Nations titles, one Grand Slam and the nation's first two victories over back-to-back world champions New Zealand.

Quite how the tangible heralding of Schmidt can top that Dublin daubing is anyone's guess, but captain and stalwart hooker Rory Best insists the former schoolteacher's legacy must boil down to far more than just the writing on that wall.

'In Joe we trust' reads that Back Page artwork.

Whatever happens in Japan, Ulsterman Best wants Schmidt's leadership style to inspire a generation of home-grown coaches.

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"The mural doesn't surprise me in the slightest," Best said. "Joe's legacy is the trophies he's won with Leinster and Ireland.

"I know it's a big driver for him not to fail in his own perception, and I think he felt the last World Cup was an opportunity to create history.

"That's what he's managed to piece together a lot, little pieces of history right along the way. I'd say that was a driving force for him to stay for this World Cup, to try to add to that jigsaw.

"That's the immediate legacy, but I do also think that it will keep going for years to come.

"With his coaching style, he's changed the way a lot of the provinces now coach.

"They now have the kinds of preparation he brought in here. He brought it to Leinster, and they were really successful.

"And it was only when he came into the Ireland team that all the other provinces went, 'Right, this is what we've got to start doing'. So you're going to get coaches that have played under him that are going to bring that into their new roles.

"There's going to be really good players that have been brought along under him that will keep that going.

"Ultimately, the dream should be that when you have somebody that good that you start to create your own pathway for native coaches to come through.

"In five years it may not be put down to him. But people that have worked with him will walk into places where, say, a Johnny Sexton is coaching and you'll see a lot of similarities with what Joe did. That's testament to what a good coach he is."

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