“Forever grateful” – What Andy Farrell has said about being linked with England job - Ruck

“Forever grateful” – What Andy Farrell has said about being linked with England job

Andy Farrell says he is “loving life” as head coach of Ireland and is not interested in chasing a coaching role back with England before the next Rugby World Cup.

Listed among the favourites to replace under pressure Steve Borthwick, Farrell distanced himself from the England coaching job.

Since assuming the head coach role in 2019, Farrell has guided Ireland to number one in the world rankings in a spell which included a Triple Crown, an inaugural series victory in New Zealand in 2022, and a Grand Slam title earlier this year.

The former England coach recently signed a new long-term contract to remain as head coach of the Men’s national team until the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

“When you make a decision, you commit and that’s it,” said Farrell.

“And, you know, I’m very lucky that it wasn’t just me that was committing, it was my wife and kids as well.

“Because whether you think it’s a close flight or connected or whatever to the UK, it’s still living abroad. It is a big move, you know, kids out of school.

“That type of commitment is something that I’ll never forget from my family… I’m forever grateful.”

He continued: “We love it here. We’re loving life here and the rugby’s pretty good as well.”


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Fixtures for the Six Nations - Round 1

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”