Earls hails 'massive' capture of Farrell
Schmidt takes bold decision to add former England defence coach to his Ireland ticket
Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30
Ireland star Keith Earls has hailed Joe Schmidt's decision to appoint former England assistant coach Andy Farrell as his new defence coach on a three-year deal to 2019.
The rugby league legend was not kept on by the new England coach Eddie Jones when the Australian took over from Stuart Lancaster after their disastrous home World Cup campaign.
Schmidt has been on the look-out for a new defence coach since Les Kiss left his position to take over as Ulster's director of rugby after the tournament and has opted to appoint the 40-year-old who has worked with a number of Ireland's senior players during the 2013 Lions series victory over Australia. Significantly, his contract runs until the 2019 World Cup, unlike Schmidt whose current deal expires in June 2017.
The new man will not join Schmidt's team until after the Six Nations and his first involvement will be on the three-Test tour of South Africa in June.
Earls started all five of Ireland's World Cup games last autumn and believes the appointment of such a highly respected figure will be welcomed in the Ireland dressing-room.
"It's massive. When I heard, it was exciting. He's a fella I admired as a rugby league player, as a rugby union player and as a coach with what he's done with the Lions as well," the Munster winger said.
"I suppose he seems to have this persona, this confidence about him. Any team he works with seems to want to run through a wall for him.
"So, it's probably going to be interesting the week of an England game, playing or coaching against his son, but he's a professional fella who will go about his business.
"I asked Paulie (O'Connell) what he was like and Paulie had great praise for him; hopefully I'll get to work with him."
Earls, meanwhile, is set to return to the Munster side to face Stade Francais on Saturday along with Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Andrew Conway, but Donnacha Ryan is unlikely to be fit.