The bosses

Having turned Eddie Jones down in 2018, Andy Farrell now goes head-to-head with him

The England head coach attempted to lure Farrell back after Ireland’s Grand Slam.

IN 2018, EDDIE Jones attempted to lure Andy Farrell back into the England set-up.

Jones had been the man to sack Farrell from his job as England defence coach in the wake of the 2015 World Cup when the Australian replaced Stuart Lancaster as the boss.

But after Ireland’s 2018 Grand Slam success, in which Farrell’s defence played a key role, Jones made his move.

englands-head-coach-eddie-jones Jones wanted Farrell back with England in 2018.

Paul Gustard had just stepped away from England’s defence coach gig to take up a job with Harlequins and Jones felt Farrell was the perfect man to replace him.

“I was keen for Andy to rejoin the set-up,” says Jones in his autobiography, My Life and Rugby.

“He was seriously interested, and I think we would have got the deal over the line, but Andy knew he would replace Joe Schmidt as head coach after the 2019 World Cup. He was keen on that challenge and so, understandably, chose to remain with Ireland.

“Whenever we see each other now, Andy and I get on well. His past disappointment as losing his job is no longer an issue.”

Farrell’s take on that 2018 offer from Jones when he was asked about it yesterday in Dublin was short and sweet.

“He asked the question and I had a good job anyway so that was that,” said Farrell. “No more than that.”

Jones’ take on his decision to relieve Farrell of his duties back in 2015 is interesting, with the England head coach saying he “would have liked to keep Andy on because he’s a very good man and a very good coach.”

However, Jones says that “the situation was complicated because he was Owen’s father and so I decided that he had to go.”

Farrell insists he bears no hard feelings towards Jones.

“My honest opinion on that… I don’t think it was my job anyway, I don’t,” said Farrell yesterday.

“I worked for Stuart, and Stuart had left. I would have done exactly the same if I was Eddie.”

andy-farrell Farrell is hoping Ireland can secure a Triple Crown this weekend. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Everything has worked out rather well for Farrell, of course, as he finds himself heading back to Twickenham this weekend with a Triple Crown up for grabs in just his third game as Ireland head coach.

It will be an intriguing challenge for Farrell up against Jones, who worked under as a player at Saracens, initially towards the end of the 2005/06 season and then permanently when Jones joined the club as director of rugby from 2007 until 2009.

“He was there as a consultant when I first joined, we knew that he was coming to take over as head coach a year later and Alan Gaffney came in and Eddie came over a few times and then obviously took over.

“He re-signed me as well actually which I was grateful for. 

“He’s certainly a very wise coach. He’s been through a lot, he’s been through a hell of a lot. He’s had some awesome experiences and I’ve always enjoyed going for a coffee with Eddie and talking through those experiences.

“He loves talking about rugby and so do I. I like to try to tap into those experiences that he’s been through.”

We can assume that any chats in more recent times have seen Farrell and Jones keeping their cards closer to their chests than ever before, but there is clearly admiration from both sides.

Having tried to bring him back to England as recently as 2018, Jones clearly rates Farrell, who he calls a “deeply impressive man” in his book.

“Andy had just arrived at the club when I did my first consultancy stint,” says Jones. “He had gravitas and, in 2008, I saw more of the qualities that made him one of the greatest rugby league players of all time.

“Andy is well organized, a leader and an astute thinker. While his career at Saracens was badly affected by injury, I encouraged him to do some coaching as he recovered. He is steeped in rugby league and he was then adjusting to a new code – but it was obvious that he would have a significant impact in union. 

“So I have been unsurprised by his subsequent success.”

joe-schmidt-with-andy-farrell Farrell says he has spoken with Joe Schmidt during this Six Nations. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Farrell is well-liked within the coaching world and he maintains contact with other high-profile figures like New Zealander Steve Hansen, as well as his former boss with Ireland.

Joe Schmidt’s reputation has taken a pummeling in the wake of the World Cup, but Farrell still values his opinion and says they have been in contact during this Six Nations.

“I spoke to Joe a few times, yeah, it’s always good to get a handle. Obviously he’s not been in camp or doesn’t quite know what we’ve been trying to do, but it’s great to get some feedback.

“He’s been to a few games, he’s watched the games and will be watching in a little bit more depth than other people so it’s always nice to get a bit of feedback.”

Feedback from the more experienced masters is all well and good, but Farrell is out on his own journey now.

Twickenham on Saturday represents an opportunity to show that he is shifting beyond any apprenticeship phase and heading towards his own mastery.

Andy Dunne and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to tee you up for Sunday’s big one. The lads try to figure out where the winning and losing of the game will be, field a The42 member’s question as to what extent the media plays a role in Ireland’s performance, and Andy explains why Henry Tuilagi haunts his dreams at night.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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