Farrell has been assistant on two Lions tours. Billy Stickland/INPHO
Lions Lions Lions

IRFU would be 'ecstatic' if Andy Farrell gets 2025 Lions job

The Ireland head coach is contracted with the union up until August 2025.

THE IRFU WOULD would happily back Andy Farrell to take on the role of British and Irish Lions head coach in 2025 if he is offered the role.

Ireland boss Farrell is seen as the favourite to lead the Lions to Australia on their next tour, having previously been involved as defence coach on the 2013 and 2017 trips.

Ex-England assistant Farrell has greatly enhanced his reputation over the past two years, leading Ireland to a Triple Crown and a series success in New Zealand last season.

The Lions announced Warren Gatland as head coach for the 2021 tour back in 2019, meaning that if they continue with that policy, the 2025 head coach will be announced in 2023.

Earlier this year, Farrell extended his contract with the IRFU until August 2025, signing that extension even before Ireland had beaten the All Blacks on Kiwi soil.

That takes him up until after the next Lions tour but IRFU performance director David Nucifora said the union would support Farrell taking up any offer from the famous touring team. Nucifora also hinted that the IRFU is keen for Farrell to stay on in Ireland even beyond 2025.

“We’ve done it in such a way to have another couple of years of continuity,” said Nucifora of Farrell’s latest deal with Ireland.

“It does tie in with a Lions year and we’d be ecstatic if Andy was the Lions coach, we think that that would be fantastic. If he gets offered that job and chooses to take it, we’d be fully supportive of him because for us that’s part of the growth of the game here.

“So, there are things that would be assessed along the way. We feel that we’ve got a world-class head coach, a really good coaching ticket that supports him and we’ll be working to try and secure them for as long as we can.”

Farrell’s coaching team is currently made up of defence coach Simon Easterby, forwards coach Paul O’Connell, and attack coach Mike Catt, all of whom are contracted until after next year’s World Cup.

While Nucifora underlined that the IRFU wants to keep this coaching ticket together, he is confident that Ireland won’t be short of interested parties if any roles open up.

“It’s important but everyone has different decisions to make based on different things in life,” said Nucifora. “Their job is only one of them. Look, I would be confident that we will retain that group but I couldn’t guarantee you that at the moment.

“And if that didn’t happen, would I be worried about that? I would be disappointed but I wouldn’t be worried. One of the benefits of having a really robust system is that everyone’s really curious about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.

“When we put an ad in the paper for whatever – a nutritionist, a physio, a coach – the change in the last five years about the global interest in wanting to work in this system is enormous. So people want to be a part of this at the moment because they think we’re doing it OK.”

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