Farrell: We can still win title
Defence coach says Ireland 'not frightened' of daunting Six Nations challenge ahead
Andy Farrell insists that there is 100pc belief in the Irish camp that they can still win the Six Nations despite Saturday's defeat to Scotland.
The defence coach was part of the England set-up who lost the title on the final day in 2013 to a Wales side who bounced back from an opening-day defeat to win their remaining games and he says the Irish team are relishing the challenge.
Farrell has been under fire after his rearguard struggled in the face of Scotland's wide-game in the 27-22 loss in Murrayfield.
But he believes the issues that afflicted the team are fixable as they look to bounce back in Rome's Stadio Olimpico this weekend.
"One hundred per cent," he said when asked if the tournament remained winnable for Ireland. "You know what this team is capable of and so do we.
"Has the challenge got a little bit harder? Yeah, but it's not a challenge that frightens us. It's one that has to excite us this week, and I'm sure it will."
In order to do so, Farrell wants to see a better defensive attitude from his players after saying the mood in the Ireland team on Saturday wasn't where it needed to be.
And having seen the side fight their way back into a winning position only to lose the game all over again on Saturday, he wants them to develop a ruthless streak.
"That last 10 minutes we slacked off in mood a little bit and allowed them access back in," he said.
"I ain't anything taking away from that second-half performance, I thought it was fantastic because we challenged them at half-time and they rose to it.
"It was a big old mountain to climb. They climbed it pretty hard. If we could get that ruthless streak for 80 minutes, we are going to do well in this competition."
Meanwhile, Ulster have confirmed that Ireland centre Jared Payne has resumed running for the first time since damaging his kidney in the November win over Australia.