Having impressed as Ireland manager since been appointed in 2020 after the World Cup, Andy Farrell was seen as the leading candidate to lead the British and Irish Lions in 2025.
Farrell has experience of being involved in the Lions set up. The Ireland manager was a defense coach of the last tour to Australia in 2013, and the drawn series against New Zealand in 2017.
While now decision has been yet made on who should lead the tour in 2025, the Daily Telegraph are reporting that IRFU CEO Kevin Potts said Farrell would have the organisation’s ‘full support’ to take up the role.
I think if Andy Farrell or any Irish coach was to have the honour of being selected as head coach for the Lions, Irish rugby would of course be honoured. I think any coach or assistant coach or player to be stepping up to Lions would be seen as a good thing for Irish rugby.
We’ve had people – logistics people, administrative people, and they’re asked, and we say, ‘of course’, it’s never a question of saying that they can’t do it. The Lions are the pinnacle of our sport.
If Andy Farrell or anybody else, of course, they’d have our blessing and full support and it would be an honour for us to have somebody associated with the Lions. I’m sure this is not a topic that’s at the forefront of Andy’s mind at this point.”
While this would not be at the front of Andy Farrell's mind, or indeed the Ireland squad at the moment, to get the backing of the IRFU is a hugely positive sign.
While it may increase the chances of some Irish players making the squad, it could have a knock on effect on the side.
Should he lead the British and Irish Lions, Andy Farrell will likely have to take a sabbatical from his position with Ireland, similar to what Warren Gatland did in 2017 and 2021.
This could see Simon Easterby, who took charge of the Emerging Ireland side, or Paul O'Connell, take charge of Ireland in the Six Nations.