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Andy Farrell has been named head coach of the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.

The 48-year-old has long been among the frontrunners for one of the most coveted and challenging roles in rugby union, and his appointment will be widely welcomed among fans across the Home Nations. Having overseen Ireland’s 2023 Grand Slam – part of which is the subject of Netflix’s upcoming new series, Full Contact – along with victories against some of the best teams in the world over the past few years, confidence is high that the man from Wigan can have the same effect on the Lions next summer.

Farrell's natural leadership ability – honed from his early days in rugby league, when he was named the youngest captain of Great Britain at just 21 – and tactical prowess will have been seen as crucial for leading a diverse group of players from different nations, many with their own styles and approaches to Test rugby.

Australia will hold a certain place in Farrell’s heart. Some of his most outstanding performances in the jerseys of Wigan, England and Great Britain came on Antipodean soil, and he will be more than prepared for what’s to come in 2025 having been assistant coach for the Lions in 2013.

It’s been widely reported that Farrell's affable nature off the field has played a crucial role in fostering a positive team environment for Ireland – something which will no doubt be high on his list of priorities with the Lions’ short preparation time. His ability to build relationships with players and staff alike is highlighted by many who have worked with him. Former Ireland captain Paul O'Connell, now on the Ireland coaching staff, has emphasised his "approachability and genuine care for the players' wellbeing."

Farrell's transition from a dominant rugby league figure to a respected union player – he won eight caps for England late on his career after his move to Saracens – indicate a man not afraid to take on challenges, and high-profile ones at that.

Having worked as an assistant coach with England before taking over as Ireland's head coach, Farrell has honed his coaching skills under the guidance of several influential figures such as Warren Gatland and Joe Schmidt. England's World Cup-winning coach, Sir Clive Woodward, has praised his "innovative and modern approach to coaching."

The cultural and sporting resonance of a Lions tour Down Under is particularly special. The rugby union landscape in Australia has been shifting in recent times, but every effort will be made to ensure they provide the sternest of challenges to Farrell’s men. Farrell's first-hand understanding of the distinct Australian sporting ethos could be crucial in overcoming that, and everything else Australian rugby can throw at them.