Andy Farrell has signed a two-year contract extension to stay as Ireland head coach until 2025.
Irish chiefs have moved to tie down Farrell beyond the 2023 World Cup, with the former dual-code international’s stock having shot up after the summer’s historic Test series win in New Zealand.
English supremo Bill Sweeney only last week admitted Farrell remains “very highly regarded” at the Rugby Football Union, with the search under way for Eddie Jones’ successor.
But now the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has moved swiftly to shut down any talk of Farrell returning to England by extending the 47-year-old’s contract.
Performance director David Nucifora admitted the IRFU was aware that Farrell would be in demand elsewhere in hailing the Ireland boss’ extended terms.
“Andy is one of the outstanding coaches in world rugby and his work in leading the transition within the national team since the 2019 Rugby World Cup has been exceptional,” said Nucifora.
“Ireland are currently the number one ranked team in the world, an incredibly tough five-match tour of New Zealand was a success on several levels and a Triple Crown was secured in the 2022 Six Nations Championship.
“A coach of Andy’s calibre is always going to be in high demand, and we are delighted that he has agreed to extend his contract with the IRFU.
“This new deal, agreed prior to the tour of New Zealand, allows us to plan beyond the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the certainty that one of the top coaching talents in the game is spearheading the national programme.”
Irish bosses have built in the opportunity to extend Farrell’s contract still further as part of the new deal.
“I am happy to extend my contract with Irish Rugby for a further two years,” said Farrell.
“As a group we have made it clear that we are building towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and we have taken some decent strides in that regard in recent months.
“Ahead of the tour to New Zealand myself and David Nucifora looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the national squad after the tournament in France. I am excited about continuing to work with the group and with the next generation of Irish international players.”
Farrell left his assistant role with England after the 2015 World Cup, where Stuart Lancaster also paid with his job for his side becoming the worst-performing host nation in tournament history.
The former Wigan and Saracens powerhouse became Ireland defence coach in 2016 under Joe Schmidt, succeeding the decorated Kiwi after the 2019 World Cup.
Ireland have climbed to the top of the world rankings by virtue of their stunning 2-1 Test series win in New Zealand this summer, a maiden series win over the All Blacks away from home.
“I am delighted to confirm that Andy Farrell has accepted a two-year contract extension as the head coach of our men’s international team which will keep him at the helm of that team until at least August 2025, and there is an option to extend the contract further, based on a number of mutually agreed performance markers,” said IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts.
“Andy is one of the finest coaches in the world, he has brought our game to new heights and has the team playing a brand of rugby that excites, entertains, and engages people, while, critically, producing winning results.
“I would like to thank our performance director David Nucifora for his work in negotiating this extension with Andy.
“I thank Andy for the exceptional impact he has had on Ireland’s performances to date, as we look forward to the year ahead, which will of course include the Rugby World Cup in France.”
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