Farrell named Lions coach for 2025 Australia tour


Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell won the World Rugby Coach of the Year award in October 2023

Andy Farrell has been appointed head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the 2025 tour to Australia.

The Englishman, currently coaching Ireland, succeeds Warren Gatland in the role, having served as his assistant for the 2013 and 2017 Lions series.

Farrell, 48, has led Ireland to a first series win in New Zealand and a Six Nations Grand Slam since taking charge in 2019.

Last month he signed a new Ireland contract that runs until 2027.

His role with the Lions will start in December 2024.

Farrell said it was an “honour and a privilege” and thanked the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) for allowing him to accept the “prestigious opportunity”.

“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,” he said.

“The British and Irish Lions fan base is really special, uniting supporters from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and beyond.

“Mobilising that sea of red by creating a team that our fans can connect with and be proud of will be a key priority for me and will be crucial to our success.”

Farrell will prepare the Lions for 10 games, including an opening Test against Argentina in Dublin and ending with a three-Test series against Australia in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Ben Calveley, British and Irish Lions chief executive, said Farrell was an “outstanding candidate for this role”.

“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,” he said.

The job will require Farrell to take a sabbatical from his role with Ireland, like Gatland did while in charge of Wales for the Lions’ 2013 tour of Australia and 2017 series in New Zealand.

Ireland commitments meant Farrell was unavailable for Gatland’s third and final tour in charge of the Lions against South Africa in 2021.

Farrell spent most of his playing career with Wigan in rugby league before switching codes in 2005, playing for Saracens and winning eight caps for England.

After retiring from playing he moved into coaching with Saracens before working as an assistant under England coach Stuart Lancaster.

He then joined Joe Schmidt’s Ireland coaching team ahead of the 2015 World Cup, succeeding him as head coach four years later.

Ireland went into the 2023 World Cup ranked number one in the world and one of the favourites for the tournament, but they were beaten by New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

The Lions’ tour schedule in Australia begins against Western Force on 28 June 2025, with the first Test taking place in Brisbane on 19 July.

Analysis

Sara Orchard, BBC Sport & 5 Live rugby union presenter

This is Farrell’s third Lions tour as a coach – but his first in charge – and he has not lost a series yet.

Despite Ireland going out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage for the eighth time last year, Farrell’s stock remains high.

A tour to Australia, where the Wallabies are trying to reassert their presence on the global stage, will make the Lions early favourites for success.

Who will take over as Ireland coach in Farrell’s absence next season, along with his backroom staff with the Lions, is yet to be revealed.



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