SIR CLIVE WOODWARD: Andy Farrell reminds me of Jack Charlton in the way he went to Ireland and quietly excelled as an Englishman by guiding them to world No. 1…England will have him replacing Eddie Target Jones
- Ireland celebrated a historic series victory over New Zealand on Saturday
- After losing the opening test, Ireland then won in Dunedin and Wellington
- They have now replaced France as the new number one team in world rugby
I’ve been keeping a close eye on Andy Farrell since trying to sign him from rugby league. The work he has done with Ireland has been phenomenal and his team’s series win in New Zealand and rise to world No. 1 is the culmination of that. Farrell has the credentials to coach England next.
When I was in charge of England I watched Wigan in the 2000 Super League final at Old Trafford.
The plan was to see Jason Robinson and meet him again. Jason moved to Union and helped England win the World Cup in 2003 but that day in Manchester I just looked at Farrell because he was so good.
The work Andy Farrell has done with Ireland so far has been phenomenal
I chased Farrell hard. I wanted him to change the codes and we had a couple of phone calls but he said it wasn’t the right time. He eventually came to Union and played at the 2007 World Cup, but by then it was too late for me. What struck me about Farrell as a player was how tough he was. His son Owen is cut from the same cloth.
Farrell has coached Ireland exceptionally. He received a bit of flak from the Irish media early on, but with confidence in his abilities he has weathered it impressively.
One sign of a good head coach is that he’s not afraid to add more high-profile personalities to his staff than you.
Many coaches would feel threatened by this. But Farrell’s bold decision to appoint Paul O’Connell as assistant has worked wonders.
In coaching I talk about the window and the mirror. When things are going well, you’re winning games and everyone is praising you, it’s time to look out the window and give everyone else credit. It can be the players, the board, the fans – whatever. When you lose and everything goes wrong, a coach needs to look in the mirror.
He reminds me of Jack Charlton in the way he went to Ireland and quietly excelled
At this point you can’t blame anyone but yourself and you have to take responsibility. Farrell is excellent at that, one of the best in rugby.
He reminds me of Jack Charlton in the way he’s gone over to Ireland and quietly distinguished himself as an Englishman. The people of Ireland will always remember that victory over the All Blacks.
England will be looking for a new head coach to replace Eddie Jones after next year’s World Cup and I’m sure they will keep Farrell in mind. I’m also sure that Ireland wants to keep him.
Farrell ticks all the boxes, but so do Ronan O’Gara, Scott Robertson, Fabien Galthie, and more. Here the RFU has unnecessarily pushed itself into a corner.
By publicly saying they want to appoint an England manager next, they immediately narrowed their options. I just can’t understand why. In international coaching you need the best in the industry. It shouldn’t matter where they come from.
Such a comment is an insult to Jones and I would not have read it if I had been him.
Bundee Aki of Ireland celebrates with the Steinlager Series trophy after Saturday’s win
What if England wins the World Cup? You are able to do this. If that happens, why wouldn’t Jones stay? If England win in France they will look silly looking for a new head coach.
Likewise, if I were in the running for England’s next head coach, I would want to be shortlisted for my ability rather than where I was born.
The RFU have built a rod back there and by apparently ruling out appointing anyone from abroad they have unnecessarily hampered the recruitment process.
Farrell is English, of course. But given the brilliant work he has done with Ireland I wouldn’t be surprised if the IRFU sign him for the 2027 World Cup already.
The work he has done has been phenomenal and he deserves all the credit he gets.
I wouldn’t bet against Jones becoming England’s rugby director after the 2023 World Cup, filling a new position the RFU is said to create.