Ireland Coach Steps In to Replace Andy Farrell for 2025 Six Nations

Simon Easterby is set to fill in for Andy Farrell once again during an Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa this autumn, a role he is also expected to assume next year when Farrell is on Lions duty.

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Easterby, 48, led the Emerging Ireland squad in 2022 but will face tougher competition this time. They will face the Pumas on 2 October and Western Force on 6 October before concluding the tour against the Cheetahs three days later, with Toyota Stadium hosting all three games.

He will be supported by key members of Farrell’s backroom team, including forwards coach Paul O’Connell, scrum coach John Fogarty, and Andrew Goodman. Goodman, currently Leinster’s attack coach, will take over from Mike Catt this summer after the Blues’ season ends.

With Farrell stepping away from his Ireland duties following the November series to lead the Lions, missing the 2025 Six Nations and summer tour, Easterby is poised to temporarily take over next year.

As Farrell prepares to head the Lions, he faces the challenge of finalizing his squad. Bookmakers have already made predictions about the likely players for the tour to Australia next summer.

We found it interesting to predict a smaller squad based on the bookmakers’ odds as of April 19, 2024.

The Lions will play a New Zealand and Australia invitational XV during their nine-match tour in 2025. This historic fixture in Adelaide will precede Test matches against the Wallabies in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.

A sell-out at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground would smash records for a Lions Test match. 

The series finale will be played in front of more than 80,000 fans in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

Courtney Lawes in contention:

COURTNEY LAWES: “I don’t think it’s any secret, I’d love to be involved in another Lions tour. It’s not the same, you know, the reason I retired from international rugby is because I didn’t want to be away every couple of months, for months on end. Whereas the Lions is two months, I can bring my family out and we can have a good time. Having said that, I’m not expecting it. But if I do get the opportunity I’ll be there.”

Courtney Lawes, Captain of Northampton Saints acknowledges the crowd during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on 8 June 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

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Courtney Lawes, Captain of Northampton Saints acknowledges the crowd during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final Match between Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on 8 June 2024. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

The 2025 Lions tour fixtures in full

  • Saturday 28 June: v Western Force, Optus Stadium, Perth
  • Wednesday 2 July: v Queensland Reds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Saturday 5 July: v New South Wales Waratahs, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
  • Wednesday 9 July: v ACT Brumbies, GIO Stadium, Canberra
  • Saturday 12 July: v Invitational Australia & NZ XV, Adelaide Oval
  • Saturday 19 July: First Test, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • Tuesday 22 July: v Melbourne Rebels, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
  • Saturday 26 July: Second Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • Saturday 2 August: Third Test, Accor Stadium, Sydney

The bolded players in our proposed Lions squad represent the starting XV, according to current odds.

2025 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS SQUAD (36)

BACK-THREE (6)

  • Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland) – 1/16
  • James Lowe (Ireland) – 1/8
  • Hugo Keenan (Ireland) – 1/5
  • Tommy Freeman (England) – 4/9
  • Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (England) – 8/11
  • Mack Hansen (Ireland) – 2/1

CENTRE (4)

  • Bundee Aki (Ireland) – 1/5
  • Ollie Lawrence (England) – 1/4
  • Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland) – 2/7
  • Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) – 8/11

FLY-HALVES (3)

  • George Ford (England) – 1/10
  • Marcus Smith (England) – 8/15
  • Finn Russell (Scotland) – 8/11

CONTINUES ON PAGE TWO


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