British and Irish Lions: IRFU ‘honoured’ if Andy Farrell asked to lead touring team in Australia

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Kevin Potts would not stand in Andy Farrell’s way should he be asked to coach the British and Irish Lions.

Since taking the Ireland role in 2020, Farrell has guided them to the number one spot in the world rankings and is one of the favourites to take charge of the touring side in 2025.

Warren Gatland has done the job on the past three occasions, with Farrell being an assistant to the New Zealander in both 2013 and 2017.

However, the rugby league legend made himself unavailable for the South Africa tour in 2021 to concentrate on Ireland matters, which has raised doubts as to whether the 47-year-old would be willing to lead the Lions in 2025.

Potts insisted that it would not be an issue from their perspective and that his potential appointment would be received positively by the governing body.

Pinnacle of the sport

“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,” Potts told The Daily Telegraph.

“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.

“And 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.”

Potts’ comments back up what IRFU performance director David Nucifora stated in October.

Farrell is contracted until the end of 2025 and would have to take time away from the Ireland job if the Lions come calling, but Nucifora insists they can handle his potential absence.

Fully supportive

“We’ve done it [his contract] in such a way to have another couple of years of continuity,” he said.

“It does tie in with a Lions year, and we’d be ecstatic if Andy was the Lions coach, we think that that would be fantastic.

“If he gets offered that job and chooses to take it, we’d be fully supportive of him because for us that’s part of the growth of the game here.

“So, there are things that would be assessed along the way. We feel that we’ve got a world-class head coach, a really good coaching ticket that supports him and we’ll be working to try and secure them for as long as we can.”

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