Andy Farrell has ended speculation around his future by signing a new contract with the IRFU that will see him remain as Ireland coach until at least 2025.
The former England international and assistant coach had been touted as a possible successor to Eddie Jones after the next World Cup, but he has put that to bed by penning a new deal that has an option to extend that could see him remain in situ for a second World Cup cycle.
Farrell (45) has the highest win-percentage of any Ireland coach in the professional era and led the side to a historic series win in New Zealand earlier this month.
“I am happy to extend my contract with Irish Rugby for a further two years. As a group we have made it clear that we are building towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and we have taken some decent strides in that regard in recent months," Farrell said.
“Ahead of the tour to New Zealand myself and (IRFU performance director) David (Nucifora) looked at the opportunities and challenges facing the national squad after the tournament in France.
"I am excited about continuing to work with the group and with the next generation of Irish international players.”
IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts welcomed the news and clarified that there is the option to extend in 2025.
“I am delighted to confirm that Andy Farrell has accepted a two-year contract extension as the head coach of our men’s international team which will keep him at the helm of that team until at least August 2025, and there is an option to extend the contract further, based on a number of mutually agreed performance markers," he said ahead of the union's Annual Council meeting this evening.
“I would like to thank our Performance Director, David Nucifora, for his work in negotiating this extension with Andy.
“I, on behalf of all the Union delegates and Irish Rugby fans across the world, thank Andy for the exceptional impact he has had on Ireland’s performances to date, as we look forward to the year ahead, which will of course include the Rugby World Cup in France.”
Nucifora echoed Potts' sentiments.
"Andy is one of the outstanding coaches in world rugby and his work in leading the transition within the national team since the 2019 Rugby World Cup has been exceptional," he said.
"Ireland are currently the number one ranked team in the world, an incredibly tough five match tour of New Zealand was a success on several levels and a Triple Crown was secured in the 2022 Six Nations Championship.
“A coach of Andy’s calibre is always going to be in high demand, and we are delighted that he has agreed to extend his contract with the IRFU.
"This new deal, agreed prior to the Tour of New Zealand, allows us to plan beyond the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the certainty that one of the top coaching talents in the game is spearheading the national programme."