As Andy Farrell, the former British Lions coach, celebrates his 46th birthday, we revisit his “hurt arena” address.
Farrell was the defense coach for the Lions’ 2013 tour to Australia, and his comments before the final test became legendary.
Andy Farrell, Ireland’s head coach, will celebrate his 46th birthday today, bringing up memories of his time as the British and Irish Lions’ defense coach. Farrell would go down in Lions history for his contribution in the team’s series victory over Australia.
It was the first time the Lions had won a series in 16 years, and Farrell was praised for his role in preparing the team’s defense for victory.
The Lions beat the Wallabies 23-21 in the first test, but lost the second game of the series by a slim margin after Leigh Halfpenny missed a last-minute penalty.
The players returned to training after a break to learn that the coaches were making six changes to their starting lineup for the third and final test in Sydney.
Following the publication of the documentary that chronicled the tour Down Under, it was Farrell’s speech to the group of players following that team announcement that went down in history.
He urged his team to improve their defensive efforts, telling the Lions to take Australia to the “pain arena.”
“As far as D is concerned, last weekend was a nice effort, a good effort. “We’re under a lot of strain, especially on our own line,” Farrell said.
“They just kept banging away, and it was a valiant effort by the boys. If I were your club coach or your international coach, I would tell you that, but I am not.
“We’re the Lions’ head coaches. At this level, a strong defense or a positive attitude aren’t enough. On D, we can’t let our emotional vitality dwindle in any way.
“Are you aware of why? Because there isn’t going to be another day. There is no such thing as tomorrow. This weekend, we’re taking the boys to the pain arena.
“Because our approach will be different from the mentality of the British Lions teams over the last 16 years. That’s right, it’s a different mindset.
“Because it’s been about failure for the past 16 years. You surprise yourself by pushing yourself to new heights. Because that is what it means to be a Lion.
“It ain’t about anything else,” she says. It’s not about participating, it’s not about being there; it’s about winning.”
“Brinkwire Summary News,” Farrell’s.