Former England and Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell has agreed to join Joe Schmidt's Ireland management team as defence coach.

Farrell will take up his new role after the conclusion of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship, with his contract running until the completion of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Ireland head coach Schmidt said: "It's great to have Andy coming into our coaching team. The quality of his delivery and breadth of his experience as well as the positive impact he had when coaching a number of our senior players during the 2013 Lions tour will add real value for us."

Farrell said: "To have this opportunity to work with a very talented management and playing group really excites me.

"With a wealth of top-class experienced senior players and a fantastic crop of youngsters pushing hard the future is very positive for Irish rugby and I can't wait to get started."

Farrell joins the Ireland coaching set-up having been assistant coach to Stuart Lancaster with England from 2011 to 2015 as well as defence coach for the 2013 Series winning Lions tour. 

Previous to joining the England set-up, Andy coached Aviva Premiership side Saracens.

A dual code player, Andy played for Wigan (370 caps), England (11 caps) and Great Britain (34 caps) before switching to Union and joining Saracens. 

He won eight caps for England including three appearances at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

His son Owen is a current England out-half.