Farrell appointed Ireland defence coach

Andy Farrell (AFP)
Andy Farrell (AFP)

Dublin - Former England assistant coach Andy Farrell has been appointed as Ireland's defence coach on a three-year contract, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) announced on Wednesday.

Farrell, a dual-code international and rugby league great, spent four years working under England head coach Stuart Lancaster, who stepped down following the hosts' group-stage exit at last year's World Cup.

The 40-year-old will not take up his role until after the forthcoming Six Nations Championship. His contract begins with the June tour of South Africa and expires after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"To have this opportunity to work with a very talented management and playing group really excites me," Farrell told the IRFU website.

"With a wealth of top-class experienced senior players and a fantastic crop of youngsters pushing hard, the future is very positive for Irish rugby and I can't wait to get started."

Farrell was Lancaster's assistant with England from 2011 to 2015 and also worked as defence coach for the British and Irish Lions on their triumphant tour of Australia in 2013.

He previously coached English Premiership side Saracens.

"It's great to have Andy coming into our coaching team," said Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.

"The quality of his delivery and breadth of his experience, as well as the positive impact he had when coaching a number of our senior players during the 2013 Lions tour, will add real value for us."

Farrell played 370 times for Wigan in rugby league and represented both England and Great Britain before switching codes and joining Saracens.

He won eight caps for England, including three appearances at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

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