Andy Farrell Discusses His Time With Munster
Having completed his time with Munster, incoming Ireland Defence Coach Andy Farrell took some time to chat with MunsterRugby.ie about his advisory role within the province and the strong player development pathways he believes are in place for the seasons ahead.
Joining Munster in January, the former Saracens, England and Lions coach went through a typical week in which he provided support to Anthony Foley and his coaching group on a part-time basis.
“It was two days a week, mostly at the start of the week as those days are usually a bit more full-on for rugby clubs.
“A typical week might have seen me get in first thing on a Monday morning and leave last thing on a Tuesday night so I got a good look at the reviews, etc and got the feeling of the group moving forward into the week and then offered some advice.
“Coming in and being involved in such a great club has been a wonderful learning process from both sides. Obviously I’m a coach and am normally in at the deep end. What can happen during a season is coaches get enthralled in the day-to-day stuff. It’s good then to see things from the outside and from both the players’ and coaches’ perspective.
“They key to coaching is, there isn’t just one way, it’s about getting a collective buy-in. You could have ten different ways of doing things but getting a buy-in and having coaches and players on the same page is the crucial point. When you are on the outside looking in you are able to see that a lot better.”
Farrell also discussed how he himself is no stranger to looking to advisors himself in the past.
“I would have done so myself several times and would embrace it as much as possible. As coaches we tend to give players as much feedback as we possibly can but in order for us to be on the same page we need feedback also. It’s a two-way thing and as much feedback as you can get as a coach is a good thing in my opinion.”
Farrell also made special mention of Munster’s active integration of academy and senior talent and is confident that such an approach bodes well for the future.
“When you come into a place you get an instant impression and my opinion, after being here for a number of months that hasn’t changed – the strength of the squad is very good and that’s backed up massively by a number of great young players who are, not just on the verge, but pushing hard for consistent selection in the first team.
“I have been massively impressed with the age bracket of 18 to 22 years and these kids not looking out of place in senior sessions. You take your hat off to Axel and his staff on how they integrate the younger lads in training and that breeds confidence in them to express themselves.
“I’ve seen many clubs where they don’t get that experience and then when they are thrown into the deep end they are so nervous of messing up. The young players here are developing at a massive rate and will be first team Munster players sooner rather than later because of the way they are handled within the club. And it’s not just here at Munster, I see that right across the Irish game.”
As incoming Ireland Defence Coach, Farrell will do doubt keep a vigilant eye on emerging provincial talent in the seasons ahead, but for now and rugby aside, he reflects on his short yet enjoyable time in Munster.
“I have loved every minute of being here. I have an Irish background, as in third generation, obviously Farrell is Irish, and I’m from the northwest of England. There was a lot of Irish who back in the day came over to Liverpool and made their way across to Manchester and Yorkshire, and where I’m from in Wigan is full of Irish.
“I have been down south, the London area, for the last eleven years and coming to Limerick and Cork has been a bit like coming home to be honest. There’s a family feel, people are open and warm and everyone says good morning. I have loved every minute of it and it has been very refreshing.” [Munster Rugby]