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New coach of British and Irish Lions confirmed

NEWS: Andy Farrell is expected to be named British and Irish Lions head coach for the 2025 tour to Australia on Thursday.

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A month after agreeing a contract to remain in charge of Ireland until the end of the 2027 World Cup, Farrell is set to be confirmed as Warren Gatland’s successor in the Lions role at a lunchtime press conference in central London.

The 48-year-old Englishman is seen as the outstanding candidate for one of the game’s most prestigious posts, having masterminded last year’s Grand Slam and an historic 2-1 series victory in New Zealand in 2022.

Ireland also enjoyed a lengthy stay at the summit of the world rankings under his guidance until they were forced into second place by repeat World Cup winners South Africa last autumn.

Farrell would be leading the Lions for the first time, having impressed as an assistant coach under Gatland on the 2013 and 2017 tours, and his appointment would have the blessing of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

“We’d be ecstatic if Andy was named coach of the Lions so hopefully that accolade is the next one for him,” IRFU performance director David Nucifora said in December.

In addition to his management credentials, Farrell has the benefit of coaching the nation that is expected to provide the bulk of the touring party unless England, Scotland or Wales threaten Ireland’s ascendancy over the next 18 months.

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The dual code international won eight caps as a centre in 2007 following his move from Wigan rugby league club and then moved into coaching, first with Saracens and then with England, serving as an assistant under Stuart Lancaster.

He joined Ireland after the 2015 World Cup and succeeded Joe Schmidt as their head coach four years later.

An inspirational figure, he has yet to experience series defeat with the Lions having helped clinch a 2-1 victory over Australia in 2013 and a drawn series with New Zealand in 2017.

He was unavailable for the most recent tour to South Africa due to his commitments with Ireland but there is no objection this time from the IRFU, which is likely to grant him a sabbatical.

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It will be the first time the Lions have been led by anyone other than Gatland since 2009, with Wales’ Kiwi boss having already ruled himself out of the running.

Next year’s tour schedule launches against Western Force on June 28, with the first Test taking place in Brisbane on July 19.

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