Andy Farrell

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Andy Farrell
Birth nameAndrew David Farrell
Date of birth (1975-05-30) 30 May 1975 (age 47)
Place of birth Wigan, Lancashire, England
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight17 st 0 lb; 238 lb (108 kg)
Notable relative(s) Owen Farrell (son)
Sean O'Loughlin (brother-in-law)
Phil Farrell (Brother)
Liam Farrell (cousin)
Connor Farrell (cousin)
Rugby league career
Position(s) Loose forward, Second-row
Amateur team(s)
Orrell St. James ()
Correct as of 1 November 2006
Senior career
1991–2004 Wigan 370 (3135)
Correct as of 1 November 2006
National team(s)
1993–2004 Great Britain 34 (134)
1995–2001 England [1] [2] [3] 11 (78)
Correct as of 13 September 2006
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre, fly-half, flanker
Senior career
2005–2009 Saracens 28 (12)
Correct as of 2 September 2009
National team(s)
2007 England 8 (5)
Correct as of 28 Sep. 2007
Teams coached
2009–2012 Saracens (Assistant)
2011–2015 England (Defence Coach)
2016–2019 Ireland (Defence Coach)
2016 Munster (Advisor)
2019– Ireland (Head Coach)

Andrew David Farrell, OBE (born 30 May 1975) is former rugby league and later rugby union player and a former coach for the England national rugby team. He is the current head coach for Ireland, beginning after the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He is the father of England rugby union player Owen Farrell.


A dual-code international, Farrell was a goal-kicking loose forward in rugby league. He captained Great Britain, and his club, Wigan Warriors. Farrell made 34 appearances for Great Britain and represented England in two World Cups. He won six Championships and four Challenge Cups with Wigan, as well as numerous individual awards between 1991 and 2004.

In rugby union he played for Saracens from 2005 to 2009 and won eight caps for England, including playing in the 2007 World Cup. After retiring as a player, Farrell continued in rugby union as a coach, working as an assistant coach with Saracens and Munster, as well as England, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. He took the Irish Rugby Union team to a 2-1 series victory against New Zealand in 2022.

Playing career

Rugby league


Farrell was born in Wigan, Greater Manchester and first played rugby league at age 10 at a summer camp run by Graeme West, Wigan Warriors' captain at the time. [4] Farrell is of Irish descent. [5] After developing with local club Orrell St James, he made his first-team début for his hometown club Wigan at the age of 16 [6] in 32-8 victory over Keighley in the 1991–92 Regal Trophy match at Central Park, Wigan on Sunday 24 November 1991. Also that year his son Owen Farrell was born, who also went on to become a professional rugby union player.

Farrell became the youngest player to win a Challenge Cup Final in 1993 when at 17 years and 11 months he came on as a substitute against Widnes. [7] He then became a full international by the age of 18, making his début against New Zealand later in 1993.

After the 1993–94 Rugby Football League season, during which he scored a try in Wigan's Challenge Cup Final victory, Farrell travelled with his club to Brisbane and played as a second-row in their 1994 World Club Challenge victory over Australian premiers, the Brisbane Broncos. He rates this as one of his greatest achievements in rugby league. [8] Farrell was selected to play for Great Britain against Australia in all three Ashes Tests of the 1994 Kangaroo tour. The following year he played from the bench for Wigan in the 1995 Challenge Cup Final victory over Leeds Rhinos. At the end of the season he played as a loose forward for England in the 1995 World Cup Final, but Australia won the match and retained the Cup. Also that year, Farrell married the elder sister of future Great Britain international and Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin.[ citation needed ]

In July 1996 Farrell was appointed Wigan Warriors' captain and later that year, aged 21 years and four months, became the youngest-ever captain of the Great Britain team, leading the 1996 Lions tour of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. In October that year he won the prestigious Man of Steel Award. He was also named at loose forward in 1996's Super League Dream Team. On 28 September 1997 in the 1997 Super League Premiership Final, Farrell played at loose forward in Wigan's 33–20 win over St. Helens at Old Trafford before a crowd of 33,389. He was awarded the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man-of-the-match. [9] In the 1997 post-season, Farrell was selected to captain Great Britain at stand-off in all three matches of the Super League Test series against Australia. He captained the Wigan Warriors as a second-row in their 1998 Super League Grand Final victory over Leeds Rhinos.


Farrell played for the Wigan Warriors at loose forward, scoring a try and kicking two goals, in their 2000 Super League Grand Final defeat by St. Helens. In the post-season he was selected to captain England in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. In 2001 Farrell set the Wigan club record for most points in a season with 429 and most points in a Super League championship season with 388. [10] He is only the second Wigan Warriors player to score more than 3,000 points in all competitions. Farrell played for the Wigan Warriors at loose forward in their 2001 Super League Grand Final defeat by the Bradford Bulls. He celebrated his testimonial match in 2002 and also captained Wigan to victory in the 2002 Challenge Cup.

Farrell played for Wigan Warriors at loose forward and kicked two goals in the 2003 Super League Grand Final defeat by the Bradford Bulls. He was inducted into the Order of the British Empire for services to the game in the New Year's list of 2004. He won the Players' Player Award and twice won the Man of Steel Award. Now Britain's oldest international, Farrell was then selected in the Great Britain team to compete in the end-of-season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at second-row, missing his only goal-kick in the Lions' 4-44 loss. Farrell was awarded the Golden Boot as the best player in the world in 2004. [11] He retired while second on the list of the England rugby league side's all-time top goal scorers (behind George Fairbairn), with 78 points.

Rugby union

On 24 March 2005 Farrell announced his retirement from rugby league in order to play at Saracens, and the Rugby Football Union. A series of injuries and accidents (including a car crash) meant that his début in the 15-man code was delayed until 2006.[ citation needed ] He finally made a try-scoring début for Saracens reserves on 11 September 2006. [12] Farrell then made his first-team début against Newcastle Falcons on 17 September 2006 as a replacement. On both occasions he played as blind-side flanker. A row then broke out about his best position: the England management suggested he should be playing in the centre, while Saracens continued to play him as a flanker. [13] However Farrell went on to play primarily at centre for the Saracens first team, and again when selected to play for a World XV against South Africa. He was selected as a part of the England Elite squad for the 2007 Six Nations by new coach Brian Ashton. He was seen by some to be the main contender for the starting inside centre position, after England's problems in that position during the 2006 autumn internationals.

Farrell made his England début at Twickenham after he was named at inside centre in the first Six Nations game against Scotland. The 2007 World Cup saw Farrell starting at inside centre against South Africa, in England's chastening group stage defeat. [14] He was then brought on as a replacement against Tonga, and scored his first England try. However, after being picked for the quarter-final decider against Australia he had to withdraw with a calf injury. Unfortunately he never produced the performances for the England union side for which many had hoped, and ultimately he won only eight caps. In January 2008 Farrell was joined at Saracens by his 16-year-old son Owen Farrell, who signed a three-year academy deal with the club. In August 2008 Farrell was named co-captain for the 2008–09 season along with Steve Borthwick. There were rumours of Farrell returning to rugby league and rejoining Wigan Warriors, after it emerged that Saracens head coach Eddie Jones had become unhappy with the direction his club was taking. It was rumoured that Jones and Farrell could be moving up north, with the Warriors becoming increasingly impatient with out-of-favour Brian Noble especially after their poor start to the season; however this proved to be unfounded, with the Warriors instead hiring Melbourne Storm assistant coach Michael Maguire. In April 2009 Farrell announced his retirement and said he was taking up a coaching role with Saracens at the end of the season.

Coaching career

Saracens and England

Farrell was promoted to Saracens first-team coach at the end of 2010 after impressing as skills coach. The RFU announced [15] on 8 December 2011 that both he and Graham Rowntree were to join the national coaching team, led by Stuart Lancaster, for the 2012 Six Nations championship. After the successful campaign Farrell was given the chance to become a permanent part of the England coaching team, but decided to return to Saracens. [16] However, Farrell soon left the London club [17] and the RFU announced on 28 June 2012 that he would join the England coaching team on a three-and-a-half-year contract. [18]

Farrell toured with the British and Irish Lions in 2013 as defence coach, having proved himself with England. He was heavily praised by head coach Warren Gatland, having drilled the team to concede very few points during the 10-match tour.

On 15 December 2015, following the resignation of head coach Stuart Lancaster on 11 November 2015, newly appointed head coach Eddie Jones sacked Farrell along with the rest of the coaching team. [19]

Munster and Ireland

On 6 January 2016, it was announced that Farrell would take up the role of Ireland defence coach after the completion of the 2016 Six Nations Championship. As his previous contract with England prevented him from working with an international team until April 2016, Farrell joined Irish province Munster in January 2016 in a temporary advisor role that was to last for four months. [20]

On 26 November 2018 it was announced that Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt would step down after the 2019 Rugby World Cup with Farrell taking over as head coach. [21] His first game in charge was against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on 1 February 2020 in the 2020 Six Nations Championship Ireland won this game 19-12 and went on to finish in 3rd place in the delayed Six Nations Championship. [22] [23] Ireland finished in 3rd place again in the 2021 Six Nations Championship, losing games against Wales and France. On 13 November 2021, in the Autumn internationals, Ireland defeated New Zealand 29-20. Ireland claim pulsating win over the All Blacks 13 November 2021.

Ireland won 29–7 against Wales in their opening fixture of the 2022 Six Nations Championship on 5 February, [24] before losing 30–24 defeat away to France on 12 February. [25] They won the next game 57–6 against Italy on 27 February, [26] before a 32–15 away win against England on 12 March. [27] A 26–5 win at home against Scotland on 19 March was enough to secure the Triple Crown for Ireland and a second place finish in the championship. [28] On the 9th of July 2022 Andy Farrell's side had a historical win in New Zealand beating the All Blacks 23-12 in Dunedin. This was Ireland's first ever victory against the All Blacks on New Zealand soil. A week later, they were victorious once again in Wellington beating the All Blacks 32-22 to win the series. This is considered to be Ireland's greatest ever victory.

Personal life

Farrell married Colleen O’Loughlin, the sister of former Wigan teammate Sean O’Loughlin in 1995 and has four children including England rugby union player Owen Farrell. [29]


Previous clubs: Orrell St. James

Super League record at Wigan Warriors 1996–2004

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