Ireland head coach Andy Farrell ‘regarded very highly’ by English RFU

Andy Farrell

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney has stated that Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is “regarded very highly” by those running English rugby.

Eddie Jones will step down as England head coach after next year’s Rugby World Cup, and the RFU have previously stated their preference for an English coach to take on the role after the Australian’s time in charge.

Farrell fits that bill, and while he is currently Ireland’s head coach, his contract finishes up after the World Cup and there has been no indication as of yet whether he will stay on beyond 2023.

Sweeney was speaking to PA Media about who could take over from Jones as England’s head coach, and certainly didn’t rule out the possibility of Farrell taking charge of the national team.

English RFU praise for Andy Farrell.

“He’s doing well, isn’t he? A couple of years ago, he wasn’t doing so well and there was a lot of pressure around him at the time,” Sweeney said when asked about Farrell.

“I think it was only two years ago where there were calls to get rid of Andy Farrell, Mike Catt [assistant coach], that whole group. But they’ve come through that and they’re doing very well.

“He’s regarded very highly but we also have a huge respect for the Irish Rugby Football Union. He’s under contract through to ’23 and then whatever happens after ’23, happens after ’23.”

Will he stay or will he go?

Farrell has no shortage of connections to English rugby, as he played for England in both rugby union and rugby league, acted as England’s defence coach for four years, while his son Owen currently plays for England.

He has been working with Ireland since 2016 however, first as defence coach and then as head coach, and does have Irish heritage, as does his wife Colleen (née O’Loughlin).

The IRFU will likely be keen to keep Farrell on board when his contract runs out after the next World Cup due to the progress Ireland have made in the last year, but whether the man himself will want to stay remains up in the air.

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