The Andy Farrell Way | Keith Wood casts ahead to the new era


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Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

20.48 21 Oct 2019


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As Ireland's rugby set-up reels from the crushing Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit, thoughts are slowly turning to the Andy Farrell era.

The defence coach will step up into Joe Schmidt's shoes ahead of the 2020 Six Nations.

Given the scale of the loss to New Zealand on Saturday, the task for Farrell suddenly feels huge.

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood joined us to share his view on the reverberations from Saturday. But he also cast ahead to the Andy Farrell era.

Keith believes Farrell's presence within the Ireland set-up means there are already pre-existing relationships with key figures in the IRFU if he seeks to exercise the same level of control as his predecessor.

Personable

"I think he has the relationships because he's been there for a few years. He's an incredibly personable guy and I know they rate him very highly," he said.

"But I don't think he has to do it to the same granular level [as Schmidt]. That's Joe's style. And whatever Andy's style is, I don't know how you define it or how he'd define it. But his view will be he'll want to be his man and he'll want to do it his way.

"And even though Joe Schmidt has delivered a huge amount of success for Irish rugby, it's come at a particular time when we haven't had success in the last period of time. So we're not going to continue in that exact same way."

Keith shared an example of different coaches he's experienced, before continuing on Andy Farrell.

"Andy Farrell has never been a head coach. So we're not exactly sure what his way is," he said.

"But if he wants to be his own man and decides to do it in a different way, we're going to see something different."

In terms of lessons for Ireland, Keith pointed to New Zealand's peaking midway through the 2003 and 2007 World Cup cycles before working out how to peak for tournaments themselves in 2011, 2015 and now 2019.

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All Blacks Andy Farrell Ireland Joe Schmidt Keith Wood New Zealand Off The Ball Rugby Rugby World Cup

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