Andy Farrell: Tommy Bowe backs Grand Slam-winning coach to lead British & Irish Lions in 2025
Former Ireland and British & Irish Lions star Tommy Bowe has backed claims Andy Farrell would be the ideal candidate to coach the famous touring side in 2025.
Farrell’s stature in the coaching world has dramatically risen in recent years as he guided Ireland to a Triple Crown, a series win in New Zealand and world number-one status in 2022.
The side did not stop there as they claimed their fourth Grand Slam last weekend following a perfect Six Nations campaign.
Perfect for the job
Bowe, who toured with the Lions in 2009 and 2013, feels that the Grand Slam-winning coach would be the perfect man to lead the tourists on their tour to Australia in 2025.
“I think he would be a fantastic Lions coach,” Bowe told the PA news agency. “He gets the ethos of it.
“He loves everything about the Lions and to have toured with him in 2013, he epitomises what’s great about it.
“He’s very much about working extremely hard on the pitch but also being able to have a laugh off the pitch and I think that’s what the Lions is. The last tour (to South Africa in 2021), I think unfortunately got away from that.
“I think the next Lions tour, it’s about bringing back the ethos of what’s special about the Lions and making sure that the players really enjoy every minute of it, and the supporters too.
“I think Andy Farrell would be the perfect guy to do that.”
Making his mark
Bowe had nothing but praise for Farrell for how he has come in after the Joe Schmidt era – the most successful in Irish history – and still managed to stamp his mark on the squad.
“I’ve always had huge respect for him,” said the 39-year-old. “He’s a great character among the squad, a wonderful motivator of players.
“But it’s very difficult to go from the number two to the number one. It’s a completely different ball game and I did wonder if he could come out of the shadow of Joe Schmidt.
“Joe Schmidt is the most successful (Ireland coach) of all-time, it will be hard to beat Joe Schmidt in terms of the three Six Nations titles, one of those was a Grand Slam, beating New Zealand for the first time ever, and he was a controlling presence on the squad.
“I felt that to try and put your own stamp on it would be very difficult and Andy Farrell has managed to do that, and it took time.
“Of course there are question marks when any new coach comes in, there’s always going to be a bedding in period. But to see the way they’re playing now, I just love how they’ve evolved where the game is.”
READ MORE: Who’s hot and who’s not: Ireland and Johnny Sexton make history, superb French half-backs and unfortunate Freddie Steward