Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster are 'hugely impressive individuals', says IRFU chief

Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster have received high praise amid speculation they could be the men to lead Ireland after the Joe Schmidt era.

Schmidt has yet to decide if he will stay on with Ireland after his contract is up at the end on the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the head coach promising a decision will be made by the end of November.

The IFRU would rather the New Zealander stayed on with Ireland beyond the World Cup in Japan but should he depart, Farrell and Lancaster have been touted as the ticket to take over.

Lancaster in Leinster colours.
Lancaster in Leinster colours.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Irish Rugby's CEO Philip Browne said the duo would come into consideration.

"They're both hugely impressive individuals. You only have to hear what the Leinster players say about Stuart. And what the Ireland players - and the Lions players - say about Andy," Browne told the Telegraph.

"So whoever has either of them in their coaching set-up is very fortunate. We're very fortunate to have Andy in our national set-up."

When asked about Farrell as a head coach and his lack of experience, Browne said the defence coach could make the step.

Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell

"Andy has been in international set-ups, and in the Lions set-up, So they're both more than capable of stepping up.

"But look, we have some Irish coaches out there doing a great job who are equally capable. Simon Easterby, Mark McCall, Conor O'Shea...we've got a few people in France, Bernard Jackman at the Dragons... we're not short."

Farrell and Lancaster have worked together before, as part of the England set-up. Lancaster was head coach with Farrell an assistant for the Red Rose at the 2015 World Cup.

Lancaster has since earned acclaim as Leinster's senior coach where he helped the team to an impressive double last season comprising of the Pro14 title and the Champions Cup.

Farrell, meanwhile, joined Ireland as defence coach two years ago, helping Schmidt to a Six Nations Grand Slam last March as well as contributing to a first-ever win over New Zealand in 2016.

Farrell will be hoping Ireland can overcome the All Blacks once more when they play Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

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