Wigan RL legend Andy Farrell to take over as Ireland RU head coach

Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell will succeed Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after next year's World Cup, the Irish Rugby Football Union has announced.



New Zealander Schmidt had been regarded as a future All Blacks coach, but he has announced that he will finish coaching following next autumn's tournament in Japan.

"I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the Rugby World Cup in 2019," Schmidt told the official Irish Rugby Football Union website.

"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands. The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but wherever we have travelled has been uplifting."

Schmidt, 53, was appointed in 2013 and has overseen the most successful period in Ireland's history.

Ireland have won three Six Nations titles during his reign, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and have risen to number two spot in the world rankings.

"Thank you to the IRFU for their support and patience and thanks also to so many people who have adopted my family and me, making us feel part of the community here in Ireland," said
Schmidt, whose side recently beat world champions New Zealand for the second time in three years.

"There are some inspiring challenges over the next 11 months so there's plenty of motivation for me to continue working hard, alongside the other management staff, so that the team can be as competitive as possible."

The IRFU confirmed Englishman Farrell will succeed Schmidt, with chief executive Philip Browne saying: "Andy has world class coaching credentials and we are pleased to have a road map for an orderly transition post-Rugby World Cup to the 2019 Six Nations."

Farrell joined Ireland in 2016 after spells with England and English Premiership side Saracens, and the former dual-code star was part of the coaching set-up on the last two British and Irish Lions tours under Warren Gatland.

"It is a privilege to be considered for such a prestigious role," Farrell said.

"I have learned a lot from Joe over the past few seasons and I will continue to learn from him over the next year as the coaching group and players focus on competing in two huge tournaments in 2019."