Daily Mail

Ireland boss Farrell asks: Why would I come back to England?

- By NIK SIMON in Dublin

ANDY FARRELL praised the joined-up thinking of Irish rugby and insisted he has no reason to return home for a job in England.

Since being sacked by the RFU after the 2015 World Cup, Farrell has forged a reputation as one of the game’s leading coaches, steering Ireland to No 1 in the world rankings. England made enquiries about bringing him back to Twickenham but when asked if there was any desire to move his family elsewhere, Farrell said: ‘No, why would we? We love it here. We’re loving life here and the rugby’s pretty good as well.

‘When you make a decision, you commit and that’s it. I’m very lucky that it wasn’t just me who was committed. It was my wife and kids as well. We had to up sticks, kids went away from their friends et cetera.

‘I’m forever grateful for them showing me that commitment.’

Praising the working relationsh­ip between club and country in Ireland, he added: ‘The work that (performanc­e director) David Nucifora has done behind the scenes has been fantastic.

‘I suppose the way that he’s done it is the envy of world rugby now, isn’t it? The joinedup approach with coaches, unions and the provinces is unbelievab­ly powerful.’ This weekend, Farrell has welcomed his grandchild­ren — the sons of England captain

Owen — to Dublin. He has given them Ireland jerseys ahead of the St Patrick’s weekend fixture as the friendly family rivalry continues.

‘My grandkids are coming over so we’ll be trying to poach them into our captain’s run, to see if we can squeeze them to cheer for Ireland,’ he joked. ‘We’ll see how that goes!’ Farrell has made three changes to the starting XV who beat Scotland last weekend, with Ryan Baird and Robbie Henshaw drafted in as injury cover, and

Jamison Gibson-Park taking over at scrum-half. Dan Sheehan and Caelan Doris, who both went off injured at Murrayfiel­d, are fit to start. Speaking about the prospect of securing the Grand Slam in front of a home crowd, Farrell said: ‘It’s something that we’ve talked about from day one. ‘Everyone talks about walking towards stuff and trying to be yourself but we don’t want to be No 2 in anything. This weekend, we don’t want to be second best.’

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