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The Irish union has approved Andy Farrell to serve as the leader of the Lions in 2025.

The British & Irish Lions will announce Andy Farrell as the head coach for the 2025 tour of Australia next month, following approval from the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Farrell has agreed to a new contract that will keep him as head coach for Ireland until the 2027 World Cup. The IRFU expressed their excitement and hopes that he will also lead the Lions team.

At the age of 48, the Englishman declined to serve as one of Warren Gatland’s assistants for the 2021 Lions tour in South Africa, although he did fulfill that role on the previous tours to Australia and New Zealand in 2013 and 2017. Gatland has announced that he will not be returning as head coach for a fourth consecutive tour and has endorsed Farrell – who led Ireland to the top spot in the world rankings prior to this year’s World Cup – as his potential successor.

Following the announcement of Farrell’s extended contract, David Nucifora, the performance director for IRFU, expressed openness to a potential approach from the Lions. In the past, Gatland took sabbaticals leading up to the 2013 and 2017 tours while he was head coach for Wales, and it is likely that Farrell would follow suit.

Nucifora expressed his excitement at the prospect of Andy becoming the coach of the Lions, and hopes that he will receive this recognition soon. He also stated that they would handle the situation with confidence, and the length of time he may be away from their team can still be discussed if he is chosen for the position.

In 2019, Farrell took over as the head coach for Ireland, succeeding Joe Schmidt whom he had previously worked with. Under his leadership, Ireland achieved their first series victory in New Zealand in 2022 and won the Six Nations grand slam this year. However, they were eliminated by the All Blacks in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in France.

“Coaching [this team] has been a hugely enjoyable experience and I am proud to extend my association with the IRFU,” said Farrell. “It is a pleasure to work with such a talented and committed group of players and, as we enter a new cycle, it will be exciting to see more players come through the system.”

In the upcoming Six Nations, Rob Howley will join Gatland’s coaching team after being banned for four years for breaking betting rules. Howley previously worked as Wales’ attack coach from 2008 to 2019, during which the team won four Six Nations titles, three of them being grand slams.

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In advance of the 2019 World Cup, the ex-Lions scrum-half was required to temporarily step away from rugby after his involvement in betting was revealed. As a consequence, he received an 18-month suspension from the sport, with half of it being deferred.

Source: theguardian.com