Thursday 22 August 2019

Andy Farrell looking for 'a bit of attitude and fight' from angry Ireland


Defence coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Defence coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Andy Farrell has challenged his Ireland charges to show their mettle by bouncing back from their defeat to Australia.

The Six Nations champions are in do-or-die territory this week as they seek to rescue the series in Melbourne and the defence coach believes the team will learn a lot about themselves from their response in adversity.

Saturday's 18-9 loss has stung a team that hadn't endured a reversal since March of last year and Farrell believes their reaction will be telling.

"We'll see what we're made of," he said. "I mean, this is what top-level rugby's all about. We'll see what the good old-fashioned Irish ticker's about, won't we? Because it's the game that matters for us to stay alive. There's a few lads that are a bit down on themselves, a bit frustrated.

"There's a realisation that they deserved to win and that hurts within itself and I do get the sense that, after a couple of meetings and understanding how we need to move forward for the rest of the week, the key is to hold them back, especially after watching training this morning.


"Sometimes it isn't complicated, it's a little bit of attitude and a bit of fight. There is a little bit of a realisation if we're totally honest that they edged a few areas that are pretty precious to us and that we've been good at in the past.

"That's why we need to make sure that we balance the week out and make sure that we're ready."

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Keith Earls is the chief injury concern as he goes through the concussion protocols, while Australia welcome flanker Ned Hanigan and prop Allan Alaalatoa back from injury as they look to close out the series.

Ireland are determined to take it to game three in Sydney.

"You learn a lot when you lose," Johnny Sexton said. "We try and learn through winning, something we did quite well in the Six Nations was we improved even when we were winning, which is the sign of a good team.

"Now we've got to bounce back, show a reaction, and perform a hell of a lot better than we did last week."

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