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Woodward 'almost filled with despair' that England have lost Farrell to Ireland

Clive Woodward is at a loss as to why Andy Farrell was discarded after England’s abysmal 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Andy Farrell will succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland's head coach after the 2019 RWC.
Andy Farrell will succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland's head coach after the 2019 RWC.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

CLIVE WOODWARD HAS bemoaned England’s inability to make the most of Andy Farrell’s coaching talent after the Wigan native was named by the IRFU as Joe Schmidt’s post-World Cup successor on Monday.

The 43-year-old was England’s defence coach between 2011 and 2015, but was discarded by incoming chief Eddie Jones following England’s capitulation at their home World Cup under Stuart Lancaster three years ago.

Incidentally, another rugby league convert in Sam Burgess has had his say on that particular debacle this morning, defending the likes of Lancaster and Farrell while slamming some of his fellow players.

Woodward, writing in his Daily Mail column in the UK, focused solely on Farrell and how Ireland have pulled off a ‘masterstroke’ in moving him to the top job from within their existing system.

“With Andy Farrell taking over from Joe Schmidt after next year’s World Cup, you can only conclude Ireland’s gain is England’s loss,” said the 2003 World Cup-winning coach.

“First, congratulations, yet again, to Ireland for their clever and intelligent handling of their coaching succession.

As for England missing out on a brilliant homegrown coach, I am almost filled with despair. Farrell has always been an outstanding individual, a great player and a coach of massive potential.

Woodward goes on to suggest that every coach at international level will become associated with failure at some point during their tenure, noting that Eddie Jones, Graham Henry, Steve Hansen, Warren Gatland, and himself have been there and “got the T-shirt.”

It doesn’t make them bad coaches, however, he suggests.

The feedback from Farrell with England was always positive so where was the necessity to ditch him after the World Cup?

“The RFU have never grasped the nettle and put a rugby man with the necessary experience in charge of rugby appointments and the result has been a succession of CEOs — with no experience of coaching national teams — making these crucial, sometimes nuanced decisions.

“It’s a flawed system that fails to acknowledge English coaching talent like Farrell and to keep them on board.”

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English egos and selfish players cost ‘great men’ their jobs at 2015 World Cup, says Burgess

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