‘One of the best in the world’ – Andy Farrell named British and Irish Lions head coach

Colin Newboult
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell during the Rugby World Cup warm-up match against England

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.

Andy Farrell has been named as the British and Irish Lions’ head coach for the tour to Australia in 2025.

The 48-year-old was heavy favourite for the role and has duly been confirmed as the person to lead the touring side down under.

Farrell replaces Wales head honcho Warren Gatland, who took on the responsibility for the last three tours in 2013, 2017 and 2021.

Gatland’s record

Gatland defeated the Wallabies 2-1 before the Lions secured a very creditable draw with New Zealand four years later.

His only defeat came in South Africa as they went down to the Springboks 2-1, despite winning the first Test.

“We are delighted to announce Andy Farrell as head coach of The British & Irish Lions for the Tour to Australia in 2025,” Lions CEO 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 British & Irish Lions make him an outstanding candidate for this role.

“Andy is an excellent appointment for us and one which we believe will excite players and fans alike.

“It is clear to see that Andy has built a very strong connection between the Irish team and its fans and we are relishing a similarly strong connection being created with Lions fans in 2025.

“We firmly believe his appointment puts us in a great position to achieve success on the field and I’m looking forward to working alongside him as we build towards the Tour.

“I’d also like to offer our sincere gratitude to the Irish Rugby Football Union and its CEO Kevin Potts for their support in facilitating Andy coming on board as head coach.”

Farrell became a rugby league legend before he switched codes towards the end of his career, signing for Saracens.

After finishing his playing days in 2009, he took up coaching and has enjoyed outstanding success, working for both England and Ireland at international level.

Farrell’s success

It is with the latter where he has really forged his reputation, firstly as the defence guru under Joe Schmidt and then as the head coach following the New Zealander’s departure in 2019.

Under Farrell, Ireland became the number one side in the world in July 2022 – a position they held for 14 months – before they won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2023.

Although they exited at the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals once again, they were so close to overcoming the All Blacks, which would have opened up a clear path to the final.

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

“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.

“I also want to thank the Irish Rugby Football Union for their support in allowing me to accept this prestigious opportunity.

“The British & 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.”

READ MORE: Andy Farrell: Five things to know about the new British and Irish Lions head coach