Andy Farrell may be currently known as the head coach of the Irish Rugby team, but a lot of people will be aware that he had a long playing career before becoming a coach. So was he any good?
Was Andy Farrell a good rugby player? Yes, Andy Farrell was a good rugby player. He is considered one of the best Rugby League players of all time, as well as an accomplished Rugby Union player. Something that is not always easy to achieve at such a high level.
Andy Farrell is one of those rare players who was able to excel in both Rugby Union and Rugby League. Growing up in Wigan, Farrell made his playing debut in 1991 with Wigan. He had first started playing Rugby League at age 10 thanks to a local summer camp. He made his first team debut with Wigan Warriors just six years later.
As a player, he joined Wigan at the perfect time. Farrell was part of the Wigan Warriors team that won seven Super League titles in the 1990s, including in his debut season with the team of 1990-91. He also won six Challenge Cup trophies with Wigan Warriors. Another sign that Andy Farrell was an excellent rugby player was his record with England.
Farrell represented his country 45 times in total, both for Great Britain and England. He was the loose forward for England in the 1995 World Cup Final which was won by Australia. He was also part of the team that finished second in the 2004 Tri-Nations competition. Farrell is seen as one of the best Rugby League players of all time.
But he was so good that Andy Farrell was able to make the move over to Rugby Union thanks to a big offer from North London side Saracens. It is rare that a Rugby Union team makes a big offer for a player on the other side of the code, showing just how good Andy Farrell really was as a rugby player.
The move was to Saracen’s, one of the richest rugby clubs in England at that point. While he did not win anything with Saracen’s in Rugby Union, Farrell became one of the few people to play international rugby in both Rugby league and Rugby Union, winning the Calcutta Cup with England in 2007 in the Six Nations.
Not only was Andy Farrell brilliant on the field, but he also was a brilliant leader. One of the things that made Andy Farrell such a good rugby player was his goal-kicking. Andy Farrell rarely missed kicks during his Rugby league career. He was also good with the ball in his hands and was an overall brilliant rugby player.
What has Andy Farrell won as a coach?
While Andy Farrell had an incredibly successful playing career, he has also enjoyed a lot more success in his coaching career up to this point. Farrell first got into coaching with Saracen’s and then England. But he was never massively successful with either of those teams and left England in 2015.
As a head coach, Owen Farrell has won the Grand Slam Six Nations title. He was appointed as Ireland’s head coach in 2019, having previously worked with the country as their defence coach. Since his appointment, Farrell has turned Ireland into one of the best rugby teams in the world.
They came close to winning the Six Nations in 2022, finishing second behind Grand Slam winners France. A year later, Ireland were able to go undefeated and win the Grand Slam title, along with the Six Nations Championship. It is likely that this will not be the only thing that Andy Farrell ends up winning in his coaching career.
That is because Andy Farrell is an incredibly talented coach who will likely be Ireland’s coach for a few more years. Considering the success Farrell has already had as Ireland’s head coach, it is likely he will win even more trophies in the future.
Did Andy Farrell win a World Cup with England?
Andy Farrell is one of those rare players to have gone to a Rugby World Cup with his country in both Rugby League and Rugby Union. Despite that, Andy Farrell has not won the Rugby World Cup with England.
He came closest in 1995 when he started at Loose-Forward for England in the Rugby League World Cup Final against Australia. Despite being in a team with rugby legends Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah and Denis Betts, Farrell was on the losing side. In front of the England fans at Wembley, Australia were able to win the game 16-8.
Farrell was actually the England captain in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup, but the team did not make it to the final. They would instead then lose in the semi-final to New Zealand in a very disappointing performance. Seven years after this disappointing performance, Farrell was selected to be part of the England team that went to the 2007 Rugby Union World Cup.
He did not feature a huge amount in the tournament, mainly due to being new to the England Rugby Union team, having only made his debut in 2005. This was part of the reason that he was not selected to play in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Mike Catt, Mathew Tait and Dan Hipkiss were selected in his position instead.
So despite going to two Rugby World Cup finals, Farrell did not win a Rugby World Cup with England as a player. However, he did have the opportunity later in his career as a coach. Farrell was part of the England coaching staff for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, helping out head coach Stuart Lancaster.
As England were the host of the tournament, there were high expectations of the team going in. Things did not go well for England despite being the hosts. They lost a close game against Wales as well as a huge loss to Australia that meant England would go out of the Rugby World Cup in the group stage.
Farrell left the England coaching team just a couple of months after the tournament, so it seems like he will never win a World Cup with England.