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New IRFU deal means Farrell won't succeed Jones as England coach

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Speculation that Andy Farrell could succeed Eddie Jones as England boss following the 2023 World Cup in France has been buried after the IRFU announced they have extended their head coach’s contract through to 2025. Fresh from defeating the All Blacks 2-1 in a historic Test series win in New Zealand, Farrell had been heavily linked with a potential switch back to England, the team he worked as an assistant for under Stuart Lancaster through to the 2015 World Cup.

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Jones decided not to keep on any of Lancaster’s staff when he took over ahead of the 2016 Six Nations, leaving Farrell to come to Ireland and work under Joe Schmidt before becoming head coach for the 2020 Six Nations. 

With the RFU on record that they are looking for an indigenous coach to succeed Jones after next year’s finals in France, Farrell had been heavily linked with a move home. However, that will not happen as he has instead extended his Ireland contract for another two years – a deal agreed before his recent success in New Zealand.   

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An IRFU statement read: “The IRFU will advise delegates at its annual council meeting later today that Ireland men’s head coach Andy Farrell has signed a two-year contract extension that will see him remain in his position until at least August 2025.

“In his address to the council, CEO Kevin Potts will congratulate and thank Andy, his coaching team, support staff and players for their historic win in New Zealand, while also confirming the contract extension.”

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Farrell said: “I’m happy to extend my contract with Irish Rugby for a further two years. As a group, we have made it clear that we are building towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup and we have taken some decent strides in that regard in recent months.

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“Ahead of the tour to New Zealand, myself and David (Nucifora, the performance director) looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the national squad after the tournament in France. I’m excited about continuing to work with the group and with the next generation of Irish international players.”

Nucifora added: “Andy is one of the outstanding coaches in world rugby and his work in leading the transition within the national team since the 2019 Rugby World Cup has been exceptional. Ireland are currently the number one ranked team in the world, an incredibly tough five-match tour of New Zealand was a success on several levels and a Triple Crown was secured in the 2022 Six Nations Championship.

“A coach of Andy’s calibre is always going to be in high demand and we are delighted that he has agreed to extend his contract with the IRFU. This new deal – agreed prior to the tour of New Zealand – allows us to plan beyond the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the certainty that one of the top coaching talents in the game is spearheading the national programme.”

Potts said: “I’m delighted to confirm that Andy Farrell has accepted a two-year contract extension as the head coach of our men’s international team which will keep him at the helm of that team until at least August 2025, and there is an option to extend the contract further based on a number of mutually agreed performance markers.

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“Andy is one of the finest coaches in the world. He has brought our game to new heights and has the team playing a brand of rugby that excites, entertains and engages people while critically producing winning results.

“I would like to thank our performance director David Nucifora for his work in negotiating this extension with Andy. I, on behalf of all the union delegates and Irish Rugby fans across the world, thank Andy for the exceptional impact he has had on Ireland’s performances to date as we look forward to the year ahead, which will of course include the Rugby World Cup in France.”

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