Former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has backed Ireland head coach Andy Farrell to be in charge of the famous rugby touring side when they head to Australia in 2025.
The Welshman has played under Farrell on previous Lions tours, which in recent years have been coached by returning Wales boss Warren Gatland.
“I think Andy would be great. He would likely be the frontrunner,” Warburton, speaking on behalf of Sage, said. “Whether he wants to or not I don’t know, but he would be a phenomenal Lions coach.
‘Farrell gets it’
“He gets it. Even though he is from rugby league he has played for Great Britain. When he spoke on Lions tours, you could sense he wished he was doing that with you. And as players we wished he was playing with us.
“We respected him that much. He would have been amazing to play with. He understands the Lions concept.
“We would have team meetings on a Tuesday, walk out and the boys would look at each other and be like ‘I’m ready to go now’.
“He would get you to an emotional level that not many coaches can get you to. Anything he is asking you to do, he would do himself one hundred times over,” Warburton added.
“He’s a really good guy, that goes a long way, people just do things for you. He’s an outstanding candidate.”
Andy Farrell will lead world No1 side Ireland into next month’s Six Nations Championships, where they play Wales in the opening round.
Ireland are yet to win a World Cup knockout match but the side are widely expected to break that curse later this year at the showpiece event in France.
Elsewhere on the first week of the Six Nations, England host Scotland while France travel to Italy.