Coach Farrell committed to Ireland job amid Lions link

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Italy v Ireland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 27, 2021 Ireland head coach Andy Farrell before the match REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

(Reuters) - Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is hoping to have further clarity on a possible coaching role with a British and Irish Lions tour by the end of this month but said he remains committed to his Ireland job.

The Telegraph reported on Wednesday Lions coach Warren Gatland is lining up a coaching group featuring Farrell, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend and England's defensive coach John Mitchell ahead of their proposed tour of South Africa.

The Lions are scheduled to visit South Africa for eight matches between July 3 and Aug. 7, including three tests against the world champion Springboks. But the series remains doubtful due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ireland's planned tour of the Pacific Islands is also uncertain.

"Like I've always said — and it's the truth — I will always do the right thing for Irish rugby," said Farrell, who was the Lions defence coach on the 2013 and 2017 tours to Australia and New Zealand respectively.

"At this moment in time, we don't know whether one tour's going ahead, whether both tours are going ahead, or vice versa.

"We've no clarity and no certainty on anything yet, so I suppose we will have to wait until the end of the month."

Farrell's Ireland side are third in the Six Nations standings with seven points from three games. They travel to face Scotland at Murrayfield on March 14.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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