South Africa

Andy Farrell to coach British and Irish Lions on Australia tour

Ireland boss Andy Farrell was named as coach of the British and Irish Lions for the 2025 tour of Australia on Thursday.

Farrell will work solely with the Lions from December this year until the conclusion of the tour, meaning he would miss Ireland’s Six Nations campaign in 2025.

The 48-year-old former England dual-code international recently signed an extension to his contract as Ireland coach till the conclusion of the next World Cup in 2027.

Under Farrell’s stewardship, Ireland won a Six Nations Grand Slam last year, the triple crown in 2022 and secured a first ever series win in New Zealand.

Ireland also rose to number one in the world rankings before last year’s World Cup.

However, they again failed to make it beyond the quarter-finals of the showpiece event following an agonising loss to the All Blacks.

Farrell succeeds Warren Gatland, who has led the Lions on their last three tours to the southern hemisphere dating back to 2013.

He was a member of Gatland’s coaching team for the 2013 series win in Australia and tied series against New Zealand in 2017.

“It is a tremendous honour and a privilege to be named head coach of the British and Irish Lions,” said Farrell.

“I know how special Lions Tours are having been involved in the 2013 and 2017 Tours, so I am delighted to get the chance to lead the team in 2025.

“There is a wealth of talent across Britain and Ireland, and I am looking forward to building a team that can deliver the ultimate goal of success in Australia.”

The Lions are comprised of leading players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

They traditionally tour one of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa every four years.

Farrell ‘one of the best’

Lions chairman Ieuan Evans, who played for the combined side during their victorious 1987 tour of Australia, welcomed Farrell’s appointment by saying: “Andy Farrell’s appointment marks a fantastic chapter for the Lions as we build towards the 2025 tour in Australia.”

“We know the challenge we face in Australia won’t be easy and to have someone of his stature with the Lions puts us in a great position to replicate the success we enjoyed in 2013,” the former Wales wing added.

Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said: “Andy is without question one of the best coaches in the world and knows what it takes to win a series in Australia given his involvement in the series win in 2013.

“His achievements with Ireland in recent years have been exceptional and his coaching experience at Test-match level with Ireland, England and the Lions make him an outstanding candidate for this role.”

Expectations will be high on Farrell to deliver a series win down under with Australian rugby in crisis.

Eddie Jones quit as the Wallabies coach after just two wins from nine Tests last year that included a group stage exit from the World Cup after defeats to Wales and Fiji.

But Farrell, the father of England’s Owen Farrell, could come up against his former boss Joe Schmidt with the Kiwi linked with taking charge of Australia.

Farrell served as defence coach to Schmidt with Ireland before succeeding him in 2019.