Thursday 23 May 2019

Alan Quinlan backs Andy Farrell to 'create his own legacy' when he takes over from Joe Schmidt at the end of 2019

Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell

Cormac Byrne

Munster and Ireland legend Alan Quinlan believes the IRFU have secured the best candidate available after announcing that Andy Farrell will succeed Joe Schmidt as head coach after next year's World Cup.

New Zealander Schmidt had been regarded as a future All Blacks coach, but he has announced that he will finish coaching following next autumn's tournament in Japan.

Schmidt, 53, was appointed in 2013 and has overseen the most successful period in Ireland's history.

Ireland have won three Six Nations titles during his reign, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and have risen to number two spot in the world rankings.

Farrelll has been central to that success as defence coach and Quinlan told Off The Ball AM that he is pleased with this morning's announcement that he will lead Ireland into the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

"Having a smooth transition is important and even if we don't get out of our (World Cup) pool, he is still the best candidate," he said.

"The players love Andy Farrell, the Leinster players love Stuart Lancaster, could they team up together again? I don't know would Stuart Lancaster go in as an assistant. I think his next job if he leaves Leinster will be as a head coach.

"I think it gives that calmness, that continuity. There is so much stuff in the bank with all those victories and the run they've had. Farrell has been there for all that.

"I think he needs to bring someone in who is very driven as well but I like Andy Farrell, I think he's tough, abrasive when he played rugby league and he's popular with the players.

"I think he was a brilliant coup for Joe Schmidt and to be fair to Schmidt, he doesn't suffer fools.

"He takes away some uncertainty."

Quinlan feels the Englishman will not be a like-for-like replacement for Schmidt but will bring his own qualities to the role.

"Andy will be a bit different, the principles of the preparation, the detail, the information, the standards will continue because Farrell is a high achiever himself and he'll have different relationships with different guys as all players do," he added.

"You can't ever replace Joe Schmidt but this is the best case scenario and Farrell can go and create his own legacy. I'm very excited about it.

"Andy Farrell has this presence about him. You immediately feel passion, intensity, he's old school and I like that.

"There is no guarantee that this team are going to keep winning and he will have tough times.

"The players will have wanted this and he ultimately the best candidate at this moment."

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