Farrell humbled by ‘honour’ of coaching British & Irish Lions

Andy Farrell was almost lost for words at receiving the ultimate honour as he was named head coach of the British & Irish Lions for their 2025 tour of Australia.

Farrell was announced as the next man to lead the world’s most famous touring team at the head office of global insurance group, Howden, a principal partner for the upcoming tour.

The current Ireland coach was a unanimous choice put forward by a selection panel chaired by Ben Calveley, British & Irish Lions CEO, and comprising of Lions royalty, Sir Ian McGeechan, 1997 tourist Nigel Redman, 2005 captain Brian O’Driscoll and Lions Chairperson.

Farrell previously served as an assistant coach under Warren Gatland in both 2013 and 2017 and is therefore only too aware of the magnitude of the responsibility.

He said: “To be called up as a candidate for the head coach’s role is pretty special. To be chosen is pretty magical. Being on a couple of Lions Tours already gives me a feel of what it’s all about. 

“Those of us who have been lucky enough to go on Lions Tours as a supporter or support the Lions and what the Lions stand for at home, know what a special place this is. For me to be selected as Head Coach is almost beyond words.”

As well as serving under Gatland, the former rugby league great has excelled as an assistant coach for England and then Ireland before taking over as head coach of the latter.

Under Farrell’s leadership, Ireland won the 2023 Grand Slam and reached the top of the world rankings while securing a first-ever series victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand.

He will take charge of the Lions on secondment from December 2024 and had no hesitation when accepting the offer.

He added: “We had a conversation a couple of months ago, myself and Ben. He laid out the different ramifications of what it involved to be the head coach and he didn’t need to do that. It was a no-brainer because it’s such an honour.

“It’s the pinnacle for the players. After a World Cup, the next big thing to aim for is to be selected for the British & Irish Lions.”

David Howden, Founder and CEO, Howden Group, said: “We take immense pride in our role as a Principal Partner of The British & Irish Lions.

“This marks a significant moment for Howden, and 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.”

Howden is the Principal Partner of the British and Irish Lions. Through their support Howden aim to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the game and to leave a positive legacy, spanning from grassroots to the elite levels, through the duration of the partnership.

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