Four Potential Candidates To Replace Andy Farrell When He Takes The Top Job

Deputy.

So it’s official. Joe Schmidt’s incredible tenure in charge of Ireland will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2019 Rugby World Cup no matter what happens between now and then.

The man tasked with filling his massive shoes? His deputy for the last few years, Andy Farrell. A man who was infamously sacked by the RFU after England’s exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup at the group stage. What a comeback for the former league man.

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But when Schmidt leaves – Ireland will need to bring someone else in as they are dipping into their current coaching ticket by promoting Farrell. But who? It’s a tricky one because Farrell and Schmidt are two very different coaches. Do you bring in another defence coach and let Farrell concentrate on being a head coach or do you bring in an attack coach to replace what you lose in Schmidt?

Here are four potential candidates either way.

Stuart Lancaster.
Farrell and Lancaster know each all too well from their time together with England and have followed a very similar path since, rebuilding their careers across the pond with Ireland. Lancaster would slot in nicely as an attack coach, with Farrell focusing on his strengths in defence. Lancaster is also the perfect man to get the best out of Ireland’s young up and comers. But would the IRFU take him away from Leinster?

Felix Jones.
One of the hottest coaching prospects in Irish Rugby right now, Jones has worked with Ireland and Joe Schmidt in the past having been brought in for their USA and Japan tour. Munster can ill-afford to lose him, but the lure of a job with Ireland may be too much for the former pro.

Girvan Dempsey.
Another man who’s worked under Schmidt having been brought up alongside Jones. The former Leinster fullback is currently with Bath in the Premiership however, so that may work against him.

Ronan O’Gara.
Perhaps a little early for O’Gara to come home, but you never know. He’ll have two Super Rugby seasons under his belt by the time Farrell’s job comes up, and the timing is perfect in a sense. O’Gara may not want to take a head coach role in Ireland this soon, but being an assistant might suit him down to the job. He’s also the perfect blend of defence/attack coach, and could be an excellent deputy to Farrell.