Warren Gatland told the RFU they would be “very lucky” to have Andy Farrell as their next head coach.
The former Wales boss, who walked away from work in England, backed his former Lions lieutenant for the role.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he (Farrell) would do a good job as Eddie Jones’ successor as England head coach after next year’s World Cup, but he could then decide to stay with Ireland and achieve something really special with them.
“I have known the Ireland head coach for a long time, first working closely with him when I appointed him as defense coach for the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2013, then again four years later for the New Zealand tour.
“I would have taken him to South Africa last year too, but the Irish Rugby Football Union weren’t keen on him leaving.
“I was impressed with the way he handled his experience with England in the 2015 World Cup and learned from it. He was much more concise in delivering information. Less is often more, especially on a Lions tour where it’s important not to overload the players.
“That development continued under Joe Schmidt with Ireland and last year he started to come out of Joe’s shadow and put his own mark on things.
“What I admire about him is that he has strong ideas and thoughts, but he’s also very loyal.”
Warren Gatland’s dream team has a few surprises
Looking through the archives, the 58-year-old only praises players he really admires. Below, find his dream team among the players he has coached.
- 15. Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
- 14. Shane Williams (Wales)
- 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu (New Zealand)
Gatland on Sivivatu: “Probably the best player I’ve ever coached, [who] played for the All Blacks, Waikato and Clermont, was Sitiveni Sivivatu”,
Gatland on Halfpenny: “Probably pound for pound Shane Williams. He had incredible brilliant attacking qualities. But sometimes Shane could score three tries and let two go. But pound for pound he was amazing when he was at his best.
- 13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
- 12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
Gatland on O’Driscoll: “In his prime, he was absolutely exceptional in terms of rugby knowledge and leadership. He was always able to make the players around him look better than they were.
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