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Andy Farrell turns down England
ESPNscrum Staff
April 12, 2012
England assistant coach Andy Farrell, England training session, Winston Churchill School, Woking, England, February 9, 2012
Andy Farrell will stay with Saracens © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Andy Farrell
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: England | Saracens

Saracens head coach Andy Farrell has turned down the chance to become part of Stuart Lancaster's coaching team, the Aviva Premiership club have confirmed.

The Rugby Football Union had been in negotiations with Saracens after England coach Stuart Lancaster indicated he wanted Farrell as part of his management team. Farrell had been seconded to England on an interim basis for the Six Nations and was a key part in transforming the fortunes of the national team.

But England have failed in their bid to lure Farrell away from the Aviva Premiership champions, where he remains under contract for the next two years.

"It has been a special privilege for me to be involved in the Saracens coaching staff for the past two-and-half seasons," Farrell said. "We have made decent progress during this period but, in truth, as a club, we have barely scratched the surface of our potential.

"The job isn't anywhere near half done, and I have decided I want to help finish the job."

Graham Rowntree will continue as England's forwards coach but Farrell's decision to remain with Saracens is a serious blow to Lancaster's plans. Lancaster had wanted to keep both Rowntree and Farrell on board as the core of his coaching team and he would have then considered recruiting additional expertise. The new England coach must now decide how to replace Farrell for the three-Test summer tour of South Africa.

Saracens had already ruled out a permanent job-share arrangement. The club's statement today that Farrell "will not be accepting any other position in rugby union" suggests a summer secondment is also not on the cards.

New Zealand's attack specialist Wayne Smith is interested in returning to Test rugby having helped the All Blacks win the World Cup and he has been linked with an England role. But Smith is currently unavailable until after the summer tour.

Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said: "Whilst Andy was clearly an important part of the coaching team during the course of the Six Nations, we fully respect his wishes to continue as a coach at Saracens.

"We will continue to work hard with Stuart Lancaster to build a world class coaching team as we look towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015."

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