Ireland completed their 2023 Six Nations campaign with a record of five wins from five, having beaten France and England in Dublin alongside away wins in Wales, Italy and Scotland; Andy Farrell among the favourites to coach British and Irish Lions in 2025
Last Updated: 21/03/23 10:13am
Grand Slam-winning Ireland boss Andy Farrell is the “perfect guy” to be the next British and Irish Lions head coach, according to two-time tourist Tommy Bowe.
Farrell secured the Guinness Six Nations title on Saturday with victory over England in Dublin, following on from him leading Ireland to the top of the world rankings on the back of last summer’s stunning series win over the All Blacks.
The Englishman served as Lions defence coach in 2013 and 2017, with former Ireland and Ulster wing Bowe believing that Farrell is the ideal candidate to succeed Warren Gatland and spearhead the 2025 series against Eddie Jones’ Australia.
“I think he would be a fantastic Lions coach,” said Bowe. “He gets the ethos of it. He loves everything about the Lions and to have toured with him in 2013, he epitomises what’s great about it.
“He’s very much about working extremely hard on the pitch but also being able to have a laugh off the pitch and I think that’s what the Lions is. The last tour [to South Africa in 2021], I think unfortunately got away from that.
“I think the next Lions tour, it’s about bringing back the ethos of what’s special about the Lions and making sure that the players really enjoy every minute of it, and the supporters too. I think Andy Farrell would be the perfect guy to do that.”
Farrell is odds-on favourite for the role and has also received the backing of Gatland, who has led the last three British and Irish Lions tours.
Having initially joined the Ireland set-up in 2016 as assistant to Joe Schmidt, the 47-year-old has fully emerged from the shadow of his revered predecessor after taking over following the 2019 World Cup.
“I’ve always had huge respect for him,” Bowe added. “He’s a great character among the squad, a wonderful motivator of players.
“But it’s very difficult to go from the No 2 to the No 1. It’s a completely different ball game and I did wonder if he could come out of the shadow of Joe Schmidt.
“Joe Schmidt is the most successful [Ireland coach] of all-time, it will be hard to beat Joe in terms of the three Six Nations titles, one of those was a Grand Slam, beating New Zealand for the first time ever, and he was a controlling presence on the squad.
“I felt that to try and put your own stamp on it would be very difficult and Andy Farrell has managed to do that, and it took time.
“Of course there are question marks when any new coach comes in, there’s always going to be a bedding in period. But to see the way they’re playing now, I just love how they’ve evolved where the game is.”
What’s next for Ireland?
Ireland complete their 2023 Six Nations campaign with a record of five wins from five, having beaten France and England in Dublin, and won on the road vs Wales, Italy and Scotland.
Farrell’s side are next in international action in August for their Rugby World Cup warm-up Tests, with two games announced so far vs Italy (August 5) and England (August 19) at the Aviva Stadium.