Thursday 14 December 2017

We want stand-ins to give us selection headaches - Farrell

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell:
Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell: "We’re expecting some big performances and we want some headaches for the week after." Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell has challenged the players taking on Canada this evening to put themselves in the selection frame for the re-match with New Zealand next week.

The defence specialist hopes the 14 Chicago heroes rested for the Aviva Stadium clash will be shifting uncomfortably as they watch their understudies take the field and says selection is an open book coming into the visit of the All Blacks to Dublin.

Donnacha Ryan is the only player who started last week's historic win to be included today and he's on the bench, with Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Paddy Jackson and Keith Earls all trying to catch Joe Schmidt's eye after missing out last weekend.

"We'll assess after the game and make our minds up, maybe Sunday, Monday, Tuesday of next week," Farrell said.

"Look, I know those boys who ain't playing and are having a rest because of what they went through last week, they don't want to be watching this week either.

"They want to put the shirt on. They want to make sure they keep it. We're expecting some big performances and we want some headaches for the week after."

Starters Garry Ringrose, Jack O'Donoghue and Billy Holland are among eight players who could make their debuts this evening as Schmidt looks to the future.

Meanwhile, players have been warned by governing body World Rugby that referees are on high alert for "reckless or dangerous contact with the head" as the November internationals get underway in earnest today.

The organisation has informed coaches that referees have been told to "favour firm sanctions for offenders, up to and including red cards for severe examples", while there will also be a focus on policing the hindmost foot offside law.

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