Sunday 15 September 2019

Andy Farrell: Average is not acceptable in the Ireland environment

Ireland's defence coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's defence coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O'COnnor

Andy Farrell has issued a challenge to the Ireland players ahead of their clash with Wales on Saturday, saying that they need to be more ruthless and emphasises that average performances will not be accepted.

The defence coach said he was left “fuming” by the three tries his side in the final quarter against Italy last time out.

Ireland won the game comfortably, but the former England dual international was not happy with the players who switched off, citing some inexperienced players getting “carried away with themselves”.

Yet, he is confident that the mistakes will not be repeated against Wales.

“I was concerned after the game because I was fuming,” he said.

“Look, all you can be is honest. The plan going into the Italy game was that we needed to go after Italy with the ball and show good intent without the ball; show some good intent in our linespeed, our hunger and our physicality in defence.

“At 40-0, I thought we were doing that pretty well. For example, we want to score tries from the mistakes that we force through our defensive pressure and within that first three-quarters of the game four of the eight tries came from the pressure that we forced on them and that was pretty pleasing.

“But the last quarter wasn't acceptable, because average is not acceptable in this environment.

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“We need to be more ruthless than that and learn to play even when the scoreboard is in our favour, to be ruthless.

“The players know that, there are some young lads who haven't got vast amounts of experience and might have been getting carried away with themselves a little bit but to knock off - you can talk about any technicality you want - but to have a lack of intent in that last quarter was not acceptable.”

Asked about whether it would be a different story this weekend, Farrell replied: “100%”.

Farrell was not about to start naming names of players who had not been up to scratch, citing a general team malaise.

“In general to the team, we always have one-on-one feedback with everyone in the side so they all know where they stand, but in general our intent to be ruthless wasn't up to standard,” he said.

Jordan Larmour was one of those who struggled at times against the Italians, but Farrell was positive about the Leinster whizz-kid’s progress.

“Young kids coming into the international scene, it's always going to be difficult. There's so much to try and learn within the space of a really short time,” he said.

“Jordan will learn from that definitely.”

This weekend, Munster’s Chris Farrell is expected to step into the No 13 shirt in Robbie Henshaw’s absence and Farrell has no doubts about the centre who started two games in November.

“Well, if you look at his performances in November he wouldn't have been too pleased with how his debut went against Fiji. He thought he could have done better by his own admission, he got his chance the week after againt Argentina and we saw the game he put on the field that day,” he said.

“He's come back into the camp at the start of the Six Nations and he's progressed from there.

“He is ready.”

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