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Lancaster Explains How He Took A 'Punt' On An Unproven Andy Farrell

Lancaster Explains How He Took A 'Punt' On An Unproven Andy Farrell
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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While Andy Farrell had an extensive resumé before taking up the role as head coach of Ireland, he has been somewhat of a revelation in the job, given that he had never held a head coach role previously.

Over the years he has made his name mainly as a defence coach, but, as Stuart Lancaster points out on BBC Sport's Rugby podcast, he has experience coaching on both sides of the ball.

Prior to Farrell's roles with England, the Lions, Munster, and Ireland, he was a relatively unproven assistant coach at Saracens.

However, Lancaster saw potential and brought him into the England fold, initially with the Saxons, before being brought into the main set up alongside Lancaster, Graham Rowntree, and Mike Catt, all of whom now ply their trade in Ireland.


"It was actually the Saxons he came in on," explains Lancaster.

So I was running the head of elite development role in England and running the Saxons, which was essentially the two Six Nations games and the Churchill Cup.

Paul Hull had done it the previous year, and then Paul ended up going into Bristol, I think, at the time.

And so I needed a backs coach really and a defence coach and I just had this gut instinct that he was gonna be good. I didn't have anything to go on to be honest.

So I took a bit of a punt and I met him and we had a chat.

Stuart Lancaster Praises The Coaching Skills Of Andy Farrell

21 February 2014; England head coach Stuart Lancaster, left, with attacking skills coach Mike Catt, centre, and defence coach Andy Farrell during the captain's run ahead of their RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship 2014 match against Ireland on Saturday. England Rugby Squad Captain's Run, Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London, England. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

READ HERE: Andy Farrell Is Worried His Mother Will Give Out To Him After Ireland's Win Over Italy

"He was working at Saracens at the time," continued Lancaster.


"We got on, well, you know, we connected straight away and we had a great time both in Churchill Cup and Six Nations and, I could really see the value he added to the group in the environment.

"Prior to the Saxons it was more gut instinct really. I just backed the fact that he'd been involved in rugby for a fair bit of time at that point, and I just sensed that he would make a good coach and it's turned out to be a good shout to be honest."

SEE ALSO: An All-Time Irish Rugby XV With No Two Players From The Same County

irish rugby paul o'connell keith wood brian o'driscoll tommy bowe brian o'driscoll rob kearney tadhg furlong

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