Farrell opens door for surprise return to national service

Highly rated coach walks out on Saracens to pave the way for a reunion with the England set-up

Andy Farrell has established a well-earned reputation for many things during his lifetime in rugby, but indecision is not among them. Hence the widespread surprise at his sudden move to sever ties with Saracens just a few weeks after re-committing himself to the recently deposed Premiership champions – a development that paves the way for a return to the England coaching set-up in good time for the autumn internationals against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Farrell, a rugby league great who switched codes in 2005 and represented England at the World Cup two years later, is still in the early stages of his coaching career. Even though his recent Six Nations stint alongside Stuart Lancaster and Graham Rowntree in the red-rose back-room team was an unqualified success, he did not feel ready to abandon the daily routine of club training in favour of the more sporadic brand of coaching on offer with the national side. It was this that led him to reject an offer of full-time employment at Twickenham.

This altered on Thursday night, when Farrell informed Saracens that he had changed his mind and tendered his resignation, despite the two years remaining on his contract. The Watford-based club were not best pleased – their statement confirming Farrell's departure was terse, to the say the least – and they could, if they so wish, make it very difficult for the 37-year-old Lancastrian to work elsewhere before the end of November at the earliest, but by appointing the long-serving Kevin Sorrell as their new backs' coach, they have signalled a reluctant readiness to move on.

There is no prospect of Farrell rejoining England with immediate effect: certainly, there are no plans for him to take an active role in South Africa, where Lancaster and company are currently preparing for the first of three Tests against the Springboks, although he may fly out to watch his son Owen play in Durban next weekend. Mike Catt, the World Cup-winning midfielder and former London Irish coach drafted in to fill the gap left by Farrell, has a contract taking him to the end of the tour.

It may be that Lancaster will retain Catt while adding Farrell to the mix. Even though the head coach wants to keep his back-room team "tight" and favours an integrated approach to training-field duties, Catt is regarded as an attack specialist while Farrell was the brains behind England's defensive operation during the Six Nations.

Lancaster has indicated more than once that three could become four if the right man becomes available. "I'm pretty open-minded about the whole thing," he said yesterday. "Andy did a brilliant job during the Six Nations and whether we go forward with three or four coaches is something I will consider after this tour. I rate him highly, but I'm not sure when he will be available." For his part, Catt was wholly relaxed: "It's nothing for me to worry about. I'm preparing for a Test series and two midweek matches. The last thing I need to be doing is thinking about this."

Meanwhile, yesterday's events at Sale were a little more predictable. The northerners won the "worst-kept secret of the year" award hands down by confirming Bryan Redpath as their new director of rugby, well over a month after it became patently obvious that the former Scotland scrum-half was on his way to the club from Gloucester. The West Countrymen are on record as saying they will consider legal action of they find proof of contact between Sale and Redpath prior to the latter's abrupt departure from Kingsholm.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas