All you need to know about Andy Farrell as 'All-Blacks slayer' is named as Joe Schmidt's successor

Andy Farrell will become the new Ireland head coach after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Joe Schmidt confirmed on Monday morning that he will leave the post when his contract runs out after the tournament in November 2019.

At the same time, Irish Rugby announced that the search for a successor has already concluded, with current defence coach Farrell taking the reigns.

So just what is there to know about the ‘All Black slayer’, including the run that’s earned him the nickname?

All you need to know about Andy Farrell

Age: 43

Hometown: Wigan, England

But he’s Irish, really: Farrell has traced his roots back across the Irish Sea to Dublin. He said: “Everyone from the north-west of England is from Ireland anyway. You go from Liverpool straight across the east Lancs to Manchester and it’s full of Irish. I’ve got (Irish) ancestry that goes back three or four generations, and so has my wife.”

Coaching experience: Farrell’s coaching career began in 2009 at Saracens, where he impressed as skills coach and earned a move up to first team coach. He then joined England’s panel under Stuart Lancaster, who is now expected to renew the partnership by coming in as a coach on Farrell’s Ireland ticket. By then, Farrell was developing a big reputation as a defence coach and took on that mantle for the British and Irish Lions in 2013 and again in 2017 for the respective tours of Australia and New Zealand. After a disappointing pool exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Farrell left England, snapped up by Ireland less than a month later. During his time with Ireland, he has provided support to Munster and Ulster, the latter over the summer while the province awaited the arrival of head coach Dan McFarland.

The All-Black Slayer: Farrell has become known, although he doesn’t like to bask in the title, as the scourge of the All-Blacks. He has masterminded four victories over the world number one side (and a draw) in the last six years. The first of those came in 2012 when England won 38-12 at Twickenham. There was also the Lions’ shut-out in 2017’s second test, which was quickly followed by a 15-15 draw in the third meeting. Ireland fans will need no reminding of the 40-29 win in Chicago, even less so the recent 16-9 victory as Farrell denied New Zealand a try for the second time. The run has led to Kiwi media dubbing him the kryptonite to New Zealand’s Superman-like side.

Rugby league background: As a player, Farrell spent 13 years in rugby’s other code. He played for his hometown rugby league club Wigan Warriors, making his debut aged just 16 in 1991. He helped the club to six Super League titles and four Challenge Cups, including three doubles. He also helped Wigan beat Brisbane Broncos to claim the 1994 World Club Challenge title. At international level, Farrell became the youngest ever Great Britain captain when he led the 1996 Lions Tour of New Zealand. He was named as the best player in the world in 2004.

Making the move: Farrell switched code to rugby union in 2005, signing for Saracens. He made just eight appearances for England amid rows over his position as he was utilised at flanker by his club and at inside centre by his country.

Family rivalry: Things will go up another notch in the Farrell household when Andy takes over the top job. He’ll again be faced with planning the downfall of his son Owen, the England back.

What’s been said about him? Plenty of good things, basically.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen: “What’s he good at? He is good at organising his team and filling up the space on the park. And he does that really well.”

Johnny Sexton: “Andy has been massive for Irish rugby. To have him in your side, coming into big weeks like this (recent game v New Zealand) is massive. It gives the guys a lot of confidence. He knows what it is going to take and will explain to us.”

Joe Schmidt: “Andy Farrell is world class. I’m maybe not the best person to judge, but in my experience, and I’ve worked with a whole lot of people, I think he’s world class.”

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