Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has revealed that he will join the British and Irish Lions’ coaching staff in South Africa if Warren Gatland calls on him during the tour.
Farrell’s main priorities in the coming weeks lie with Ireland, as a young and inexperienced Irish squad are currently preparing to take on Japan and the USA next month.
It had been reported a number of weeks ago that Farrell would join up with the Lions after Ireland’s two tests, but the former England international indicated at a press conference that he is unlikely to travel to South Africa.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) June 14, 2021
Andy Farrell on Lions coaching team: ‘I’m sure they’ll be fine.’
“I have spoken to Warren a couple of times. I’m more than happy obviously to help out because it is an unbelievable honour to be asked or to be involved in the Lions,” Farrell said, via RugbyPass.
“I’m sure we are all looking forward to watching the series. Where it stands at this moment in time is that Warren has left a spot open and he wants to see how the workload goes in the first week or so of the camps.
“If he needs help in and around all that then I am happy to help but the experience that they have got there within the coaching staff is top class, the experience that they have got in the management group is top class as well so I am sure they will be fine.”
Warren Gatland’s Lions coaching team.
Gatland will take Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, Leinster forwards coach Robin McBryde, Scotland defence coach Steve Tandy and Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins with him on the tour of South Africa.
Farrell toured with the Lions as defence coach in both 2013 and 2017, but the role of defence coach has been filled by Tandy on this occasion.
Lions head coach Gatland had admitted he was interested in bringing Farrell along for a third tour, but knew that it was highly unlikely as Ireland were due to tour Fiji next month.
Here are your coaches for the 2021 #CastleLionsSeries against South Africa 🦁
A blend of experience and fresh perspective 💪
Read more about the appointments below ⤵️#LionsRugby
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) April 13, 2021
That tour of Fiji was cancelled due to Covid-related concerns, and was replaced by two games in Dublin against Japan and the USA.
As a result, the opportunity for Farrell to join the Lions in South Africa after Ireland’s second test on July 10 arose. The Ireland head coach would be able to join up with the touring side roughly two weeks before their first test against the Springboks.
The likelihood of that happening now seems far from certain, after Farrell indicated that Gatland and his coaching team would be well-equipped to deal with the pressures of the tour.