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Andy Farrell officially appointed British and Irish Lions head coach for Australia tour

Rugby's worst-kept secret was confirmed Thursday as Andy Farrell was named British and Irish Lions head coach for their 2025 tour to Australia.

Farrell will lead the Lions for the first time after serving as an assistant under Warren Gatland for the 2013 and 2017 visits to Australia and New Zealand respectively.

"It is a tremendous honour and a privilege to be named head coach of the British and Irish Lions," the 48-year-old Englishman said.

"There is a wealth of talent across Britain and Ireland, and I am looking forward to building a team that can deliver the ultimate goal of success in Australia."

Farrell begins his role in December having been given the green light by Ireland to take charge of the Lions for their 10-fixture trip that culminates in a three-Test series against the Wallabies.

The 2023 World Rugby coach of the year has been given a sabbatical by the Irish Rugby Football Union to focus purely on the Lions, meaning he will miss next year’s Six Nations.

"Andy is without question one of the best coaches in the world and knows what it takes to win a series in Australia given his involvement in the series win in 2013," Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said.

"His achievements with Ireland in recent years have been exceptional and his coaching experience at Test-match level with Ireland, England and the Lions make him an outstanding candidate for this role.

"Andy is an excellent appointment for us and one which we believe will excite players and fans alike.

"It is clear to see that Andy has built a very strong connection between the Irish team and its fans and we are relishing a similarly strong connection being created with Lions fans in 2025.

"We firmly believe his appointment puts us in a great position to achieve success on the field and I’m looking forward to working alongside him as we build towards the Tour."

Farrell succeeds Gatland in one of the most prestigious roles in the game having impressed during his four-year reign as Ireland head coach, masterminding a Grand Slam and an historic 2-1 series victory in New Zealand.

Ireland also topped the global rankings until being nudged into second place by South Africa, who were crowned back-to-back world champions last autumn.

"I know how special Lions tours are having been involved in the 2013 and 2017 Tours, so I'm delighted to get the chance to lead the team in 2025," Farrell said.

"I also want to thank the Irish Rugby Football Union for their support in allowing me to accept this prestigious opportunity.

"The Lions fan base is really special, uniting supporters from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and beyond.

"Mobilising that sea of red by creating a team that our fans can connect with and be proud of will be a key priority for me and will be crucial to our success."

READ MORE: Rugby Union: Steve Borthwick gives Owen Farrell update amid uncertain England future

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