Rugby: Andy Farrell appointed Lions coach for Australia tour as full schedule revealed

Andy Farrell.
Andy Farrell. Photo credit: Getty Images

Ireland coach Andy Farrell was named as head coach of the British and Irish Lions for their tour of Australia in 2025 on Thursday, a just reward for the former England international's remarkable achievements with his adopted nation.

The widely expected confirmation came at a news conference on Friday (NZ time), though Farrell has yet to make any decisions about the make-up of his team of assistants.

Farrell, father of England captain Owen, was an assistant to Warren Gatland on the 2013 and 2017 tours of Australia and New Zealand, though he made himself unavailable for the 2021 South Africa tour.

Farrell, 48, became Ireland head coach in 2019, leading them to a first series win in New Zealand and to a Six Nations Grand Slam last year.

They lost to New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals, but Farrell was still named World Rugby's coach of the year. He previously spent four years as assistant coach with England.

His contract was extended to 2027 last December, when the Irish Rugby Football Union said they would be "ecstatic" if he was given the Lions job and would discuss how much time he would need away from the Ireland role.

Owen Farrell of the Lions talks to the team after beating the All Blacks in 2017.
Owen Farrell of the Lions talks to the team after beating the All Blacks in 2017. Photo credit: Getty Images

The former Wigan and Britain rugby league star also played for the England union team, including at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He is the first Ireland coach to lead the Lions since Noel Murphy on the 1980 tour of South Africa and the first Englishman since Clive Woodward in 2005 in New Zealand.

"It is a tremendous honour and a privilege to be named head coach," Farrell said. "I know how special Lions tours are having been involved in the 2013 and 2017 tours, so I am delighted to get the chance to lead the team in 2025.

"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. 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."

Gatland announced last year that he did not want to do another stint and backed Farrell to take over.

Ben Calveley, Lions CEO, said: "Andy is without question one of the best coaches in the world and knows what it takes to win a Series in Australia.

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

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

A Lions statement said: "The recent formation of a historic partnership between The Lions, Premiership Rugby and the United Rugby Championship will enable all selected players to be available for all pre-tour activities including the fixture against Argentina in Dublin."

This comes after the 2021 pre-tour match against Japan clashed with the Premiership final as Lions tours had become progressively squeezed and shortened.

The Lions, who beat the Wallabies 2-1 on their last tour of Australia in 2013, begin the 2025 campaign with a game against Argentina in Dublin on June 20. The three tests are in Brisbane on July 19, Melbourne on July 26 and Sydney on August 2.  

The Lions will also ill also come up against five Super Rugby teams and a combined Australia and New Zealand invitational side.

Full Fixture List

* June 20, Pre-Tour Fixture - Lions v Argentina, Dublin (Aviva Stadium)

* June 28, Lions v Western Force, Perth (Optus Stadium)

* July 2, Lions v Queensland Reds, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)

* July 5, Lions v NSW Waratahs, Sydney (Allianz Stadium)

* July 9, Lions v ACT Brumbies, Canberra (GIO Stadium)

* July 12, Lions v Invitational AU & NZ, Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

* July 19, 1st Test, Lions v Australia, Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium)

* July 22, Lions v Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

* July 26, 2nd Test, Lions v Australia, Melbourne (Melbourne Cricket Ground/MCG)

* Aug. 2, 3rd Test, Lions v Australia, Sydney (Accor Stadium)