‘I’ll always do the right thing for Irish rugby’ – Farrell responds to Lions talk

Updated Mar 4th 2021, 3:03 PM

ANDY FARRELL SAYS he will “do the right thing for Irish rugby” when it comes to making any decision about joining Warren Gatland’s coaching ticket for this year’s scheduled British and Irish Lions tour.

Farrell was a member of the Lions coaching teams in 2013 and 2017, and has been linked with a role in Gatland’s set-up again ahead of the planned summer Tests against the Springboks.

However there is still much uncertainly surrounding the nature of the Lions tour given the coronavirus situation in South Africa, with the tour potentially being held in either Australia or the UK and Ireland.

The IRFU are also hoping that Ireland will travel to the Pacific Islands this summer, but it remains to be seen if that tour can go ahead.

Speaking to the media today, the Ireland head coach said he has no update on whether he be joining the Lions tour, adding that he hopes to have more clarity on the summer calendar later this month.

“No there isn’t (any update), I’m as updated as you are on all the ramifications that are being bounced about from day to day so no, there’s nothing that I know that’s going on at this moment in time that gives any clarity on the situation whatsoever,” Farrell said.

“We don’t know whether there’s a Lions tour going on, we don’t know at this moment in time whether there’s a summer tour going on with Ireland.

“So I hear that hopefully by the end of the month we’ll know something more concrete. 

“Like I’ve always said, and it’s the truth, I’ll always do the right thing for Irish rugby,” he added.

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“At this moment in time we don’t know, like I’ve said, whether one tour is going ahead or whether both tours are going ahead, we have no clarity or no certainty about anything so I suppose we’ll have to wait until the end of the month.”

When asked about the possibility of being involved in both tours, should they go ahead, Farrell refused to be drawn.

“Again, we don’t know what that tour looks like yet. I don’t know what’s happening as far as the Lions are concerned regarding warm-up matches, the fall-out from those warm-up matches that are going to have ramifications on what happens with the rest of world rugby and whose available for tours etc, so we don’t know what that looks like.”

Farrell is currently working with a 23-man selection of his squad on a two day mini-camp ahead of the Six Nations fixtures against Scotland and England, having released 13 players back to their provinces to play in the Pro14 this weekend.

Farrell said all of those released can still come into contention for selection ahead of the final Six Nations fixtures, as well as Jacob Stockdale, who made a welcome return from injury in Ulster’s win over Ospreys last weekend.

“It’s great to see him back,” Farrell said.

“I know that speaking to him at the start of the competition he was very frustrated with how slow the injury was coming on. I know how diligently he’s been working with the medics up there at Ulster so he’s done great to get himself back on the field and put himself back into contention. 

“He got a chunk of the game there last weekend and hopefully he’ll get more game-time this weekend against a very good Leinster side.

“So we’ll see how Jacob shapes up and what the rest of the squad looks like on the back of that.”