On this day in 2005: Andy Farrell signs for the Arabs to change the codes of rugby

Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell switched codes to the union and signed for Saracens on this day in 2005.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed Farrell’s three-year contract with Surrey.

The current Ireland manager, Farrell spent 13 years at Wigan, winning 34 caps for Great Britain and 11 for England.

“Andrew is an outstanding player who has been a fantastic ambassador for rugby league on and off the field, and we believe he will do the same in rugby union,” said Chief Executive Officer of Rugby Union Francis Barron.

“Wigan and Saracens have been very helpful and I want to thank them for all their help over the past few weeks.”

A series of injuries delayed Farrell’s Saracens debut until 2006, but he went on to make England bow out in the Six Nations Championship the following year.

Injuries continued to hamper Farrell at every turn and he only made eight appearances, though he did go to the 2007 World Cup where they defeated reigning champions England in the finals.

A successful coaching career followed, with Farrell impressing with Saracens before joining England’s backroom staff in 2012.

Farrell helped the British and Irish Lions win series in Australia in 2013 but lost his job in England after the 2015 World Cup, as coach Stuart Lancaster’s side became the worst hosts in the tournament’s history.

The 46-year-old became the Defensive Coach in Ireland in 2016.

He succeeded Joe Schmidt as head coach after the 2019 World Cup and Saturday won his first silverware in the role as Ireland claimed the Six Nations title by defeating England to complete the Grand Slam.

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