On this day in 2005: Andy Farrell signs for Saracens to switch rugby codes

On this day in 2005: Andy Farrell signs for Saracens to switch rugby codes

Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell switched codes to union and signed for Saracens on this day in 2005.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed Farrell’s three-year contract with Sarries.

Current Ireland head coach Farrell had enjoyed 13 heavily-decorated years at Wigan, winning 34 caps for Great Britain and 11 for England.

Andy Farrell helped England reach the 2007 World Cup final
Andy Farrell helped England reach the 2007 World Cup final (David Davies/PA)

“Andrew is an outstanding player who has been a superb ambassador for rugby league on and off the field and we believe that he will do the same in rugby union,” said RFU chief executive Francis Baron.

“Wigan and Saracens have been very co-operative and I’d like to thank them for all their help over the last few weeks.”

A string of injuries delayed Farrell’s Saracens debut until 2006 but he went on to make his England bow in the Six Nations the following year.

Injuries continued to hamper Farrell at every turn and he only managed eight caps, although he did go to the 2007 World Cup where defending champions England were beaten finalists.

Andy Farrell became Ireland head coach after the 2019 World Cup and helped his side clinch the Triple Crown at the weekend
Andy Farrell became Ireland head coach after the 2019 World Cup and helped his side clinch the Triple Crown at the weekend (Brian Lawless/PA)

A successful coaching career followed, with Farrell impressing with Saracens before joining England’s backroom staff in 2012.

Farrell helped the British and Irish Lions to a series win in Australia in 2013 but lost his England job after the 2015 World Cup, where head coach Stuart Lancaster’s side became the worst-performing hosts in tournament history.

The 46-year-old became Ireland defence coach in 2016.

He succeeded Joe Schmidt as head coach following the 2019 World Cup and on Saturday won his first silverware in the role as Ireland won the Six Nations title with victory over England to complete the Grand Slam.