Farrell appointed British & Irish Lions Head Coach

11 January 2024

Farrell appointed British & Irish Lions Head Coach

The British & Irish Lions has today announced the appointment of Andy Farrell as Head Coach for the Lions Men’s 2025 Tour to Australia. The Ireland Head Coach was unveiled at an official event at the head office of global insurance group, Howden, a Principal Partner for the upcoming 2025 Lions Tour.

Farrell will start in his role in December 2024 and will work solely with the Lions until the conclusion of the 2025 Tour to Australia. He will confirm his full British & Irish Lions coaching team in due course. Farrell played a key role as defence coach under Warren Gatland for the 2013 Series win in Australia and in the drawn Series in New Zealand in 2017.

The panel that selected the Head Coach was chaired by Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions CEO, and consisted of Ieuan Evans,British & Irish Lions Chairperson, along with former British & Irish Lions players Brian O’Driscoll, Sir Ian McGeechan, and Nigel Redman.

Farrell, the 2023 World Rugby Coach of the Year has been part of the Irish coaching setup since 2016 having worked as defence coach under Joe Schmidt before being named as Head Coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. As defence coach, Farrell was a part of Ireland’s first-ever series win in Australia during the 2018 summer Tour.

During his tenure as Head Coach, he has guided Ireland to two triple crowns in 2022 and 2023, the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2023 and led the team to number one in the World Rugby rankings. Farrell also recorded a famous first-ever series win against New Zealand in the summer of 2022, four months before overseeing a win over Australia in Dublin.

Before his role with Ireland, Farrell served as England assistant coach from 2012 to 2015 under Stuart Lancaster and was also involved in the Saracens coaching set-up from 2010 to 2012. As a player, Farrell earned 34 caps for Great Britain and 11 for England in rugby league, including the 1995 and 2000 World Cups, and eight for England in rugby union, including the 2007 World Cup. He played 28 times for Saracens.

The recent formation of a historic partnership between The British & Irish Lions, Premiership Rugby, and the United Rugby Championship will enable all selected British & Irish Lions players to be available for all pre-Tour activities including the pre-Tour fixture against Argentina in Dublin, further enhancing The British & Irish Lions chances of success in Australia.

Farrell succeeds previous Head Coach Warren Gatland, who coached the Lions on three consecutive Tours, guiding the Lions to a Series victory against Australia in 2013 and a drawn Series with New Zealand in 2017 before narrowly losing to South Africa during the 2021 Tour.

Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions CEO, said, “We are delighted to announce Andy Farrell as Head Coach of The British & Irish Lions for the Tour to Australia in 2025. 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.”

Ieuan Evans, British & Irish Lions Chairperson said, “Andy Farrell’s appointment marks a fantastic chapter for the Lions as we build towards the 2025 Tour in Australia. We know the challenge we face in Australia won’t be easy and to have someone of his stature with the Lions puts us in a great position to replicate the success we enjoyed in 2013.

“British & Irish Lions Tours are unique in the world of sport and Australia is always a very special place to play rugby. It is home to some of the most iconic stadiums in the world which will be packed full of passionate fans.”

Andy Farrell, British & Irish Lions Head Coach said, “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.”

“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.”

Kevin Potts, CEO at the Irish Rugby Football Union, said,
“Being named Head Coach of The British & Irish Lions is a huge honour and the IRFU are absolutely delighted for Andy Farrell and his family with this recognition.”

“What Andy has accomplished with our Men’s National Team has been exceptional. His leadership, passion and drive for the game will be a huge asset to The British & Irish Lions and we are looking forward to supporting him as he takes on this challenge”.

David Howden, CEO, Howden Group commented, “We take immense pride in being a Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions. Today marks a significant moment for Howden as we start this exciting journey with the Lions. We’re committed to playing a central role in the future of the sport, from the elite through to the grassroots. As we look ahead to 2025, under Andy’s leadership, there’s no question that we’re on track for a remarkable tour in Australia.”