Andy Farrell is loving life in Ireland and has no interest in chasing a coaching role back in England as he seeks to clinch Grand Slam glory against his native country.
The 47-year-old crossed the Irish Sea to become Joe Schmidt’s defence coach in 2016 in the aftermath of departing a similar role with England following the arrival of Eddie Jones.
He has emphatically enhanced his coaching reputation in Dublin, guiding Ireland to a stunning series win over New Zealand, the top of the global rankings and the brink of a Guinness Six Nations clean sweep since replacing Schmidt as head coach after the 2019 World Cup.
Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney said on the back of last summer’s historic tour success in New Zealand that Farrell was “very highly regarded” amid a recruitment drive to identify Jones’ successor as England boss.
Farrell subsequently extended his Ireland contract to 2025 and has no regrets about leaving his homeland, while feeling “forever grateful” for the sacrifices made by his uprooted family.
“When you make a decision, you commit and that’s it,” he said. “And, you know, I’m very lucky that it wasn’t just me that was committing, it was my wife and kids as well.
“Because whether you think it’s a close flight or connected or whatever to the UK, it’s still living abroad. It is a big move, you know, kids out of school.
“It was a commitment from the family. And the more I look back on that I’m forever grateful for them showing me that commitment, you know, because it was just because of me, wasn’t it?
“We upped sticks and the kids went away from their friends et cetera, and that type of commitment is something that I’ll never forget from my family.”
Asked if he had felt the urge to pursue a job at home, he replied: “No, why would we? We love it here. We’re loving life here and the rugby’s pretty good as well.”
Farrell is poised to face a host of familiar faces at a sold-out Aviva Stadium on St Patrick’s weekend.
His son, Owen Farrell, will skipper an England side coached by his former Saracens co-captain and international team-mate Steve Borthwick.
Farrell has backed Borthwick to eventually get England firing following a difficult start which has brough Calcutta Cup disappointment against Scotland and a drubbing by France.
“Obviously we’re very aware of each other’s traits,” Farrell said of Borthwick, who was a fellow coach on the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
“He’s an outstanding coach. When I worked with him on the Lions, I mean, the proof’s in the pudding isn’t it really? Ask the players, they’re the people that matter and to a man everyone was raving coming back from the Lions tour.
“Steve doesn’t rest on his laurels either. He’ll be enjoying this challenge as well, to make sure he gets better as a coach, and there’s no doubt about it that he’ll get it right with England.”
Farrell junior is back in England’s number 10 jersey after being dropped for the France game and will go head to head with veteran Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton, who is preparing for his final Six Nations game before retiring after the autumn World Cup.
“I think Owen and Johnny are pretty similar as far as the drive and the fight and the want ,” said Andy Farrell.
“Both are super competitors and they’ll make sure that their team is of the same mindset as well. That’s why I said England are going to be extremely dangerous this weekend because of a mentality like that.”