Saturday 24 February 2018

Andy Farrell refuses to be drawn on Paddy Jackson situation as Ireland gear up for All Blacks clash

Harry Clarke

Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell was keen to focus on the task ahead rather than answer questions about Paddy Jackson, with the Englishman declining to comment on the out-half's legal situation when asked about it at today's press conference.

Farrell is in Chicago with the Irish team preparing for Saturday's blockbuster clash with the All Blacks at Solider Field, which has been somewhat overshadowed by the news that Jackson and his team-mate Stuart Olding were questioned by police in relation to alleged sexual offences.

Read more: Paddy Jackson 'available for selection' for Ireland's remaining November tests after police questioning

When asked about the situation, Farrell refused to be drawn on it.

"I think there's been a bit said about it already and Ulster have come out and made a statement this morning," he said.

"We'll reference you to that and we'll get on with our own business.

"We've got a big week ahead of us here in Chicago. Little preparation, our focus has to be on the game and we'll make no further comment."

Farrell was asked follow-up questions on what Jackson's involvement would have been in Chicago and whether he is available for the rest of the autumn series, but again, declined to comment.

"Again, I'll just reference you to the statement from Ulster and I'll make no further comment because we've got a big job ahead of this week with preparation, etc., so I hope you'll respect that," he said.

In other news, Farrell confirmed that back rows Sean O'Brien and Peter O'Mahony, who haven't travelled to Chicago, trained with the squad before they left as the duo continue to return to full fitness.

O'Mahony and O'Brien have played just a handful of games since returning from long-term injuries, and could be involved in the matchday squad when the Irish team return from Chicago.

"They came into camp and trained with us for the day before we left. Being the animals that they are, of course every international player wants to be involved as much as they possible can," Farrell said.

"But they understand that we've got players in form, players that have played quite a lot of minutes.

"They're team players and squad players as well, so they understand.

"They're involved in the squad and they'll meet back up with us when we get back in Ireland."

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