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27th Nov 2018

Clive Woodward almost full with despair that Ireland have secured Andy Farrell

Jack O'Toole

England World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward has said that the RFU have lost a brilliant coach to Ireland in the form of Andy Farrell.

Farrell was announced on Monday as Joe Schmidt’s successor once the New Zealander steps down from his role as Ireland head coach after next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Farrell was dismissed as an England assistant alongside former head coach Stuart Lancaster after their failure at the 2015 Rugby World Cup and he was quickly snapped up by Joe Schmidt and the IRFU.

Woodward predicts that Farrell will give Ireland great continuity after Schmidt’s departure but he laments that his defection to Ireland from England is a flaw of both English Rugby and the RFU.

“The feedback from Farrell with England was always positive so where was the necessity to ditch him after the World Cup?,” Woodward questioned in his Daily Mail column.

“The RFU have never grasped the nettle and put a rugby man with the necessary experience in charge of rugby appointments and the result has been a succession of CEOs — with no experience of coaching national teams — making these crucial, sometimes nuanced decisions.

“It’s a flawed system that fails to acknowledge English coaching talent like Farrell and to keep them on board.”

Farrell, who joined the Ireland set-up in 2016 ahead of the summer tour of South Africa, has been credited as the defensive guru of the national team’s success in recent years and was quite happy to succeed Schmidt next year.

“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.”

Meanwhile Joe Schmidt has assured concerned supporters that Irish Rugby is in safe hands with Farrell at the helm.

“The coaches have been fantastic to work with and Andy has made a big impact since coming into the group,” Schmidt said of his successor.

“His ability to lead and his understanding of the game will ensure that the group will continue to move forward.”

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