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Andy Farrell 'gutted' Ireland were forced to cancel open session as they gear up for Twickenham clash


Head coach Andy Farrell

Head coach Andy Farrell


Head coach Andy Farrell

ANDY FARRELL has expressed his regret at the cancellation of his side's open session in Cork this morning.

The senior squad and the U-20s were due to train at Cork Institute of Technology in front of 3,500 fans, but heavy rain overnight made the pitch unplayable and the session was moved to Irish Independent Park after an inspection.

Due to the short notice and the fact the Southern Kings were doing their Captain's Run training session at the venue at noon, the IRFU were unable to accommodate fans at the stadium and the work-out took place behind closed doors.

"It has been an interesting couple of days," head coach Farrell said.

"We trained yesterday and the pitch was soft. It was good, a decent session. The groundsmen had done as much as they could, but the rain was torrential last night. We got up early this morning and it wasn't fit for purpose.

"We're gutted because we tried to transfer everything to Independent Park and we weren't able to do that so the kids missed out. We came down to Cork to connect with the Cork people and the 3,500 people that were going to come and see us train - we could have connected and signed autographs at the end of the session. There was none of that because of the safety regulations.

"We had a care of duty to the players - the 20s and our lads - we ended up with a decent session in the end. We're happy with that but gutted for the people of Cork.

"That's why we do those sessions, why we go all over the country if we can. It was unfortunate circumstances with the weather.

"We've trained in the past on heavy pitches and came away with injuries along the way. I think it was the right call for the team, gutted for the people."

Farrell's primary focus is on the trip to Twickenham next weekend where Ireland are going for a Triple Crown.

"I'm as confident as you can be going to Twickenham," he said.

"We know the task in hand. We know what awaits you when you get there. We know that England are pretty proud to play at home like we are to play at the Aviva.

"We feel like we're in a decent place. We're looking forward to next week. We've had a good couple of days here. I'm sure the lads are relishing coming into camp on Monday night, looking for a big week ahead. We'll need to be like that."

Wins over Scotland and Wales have put Ireland in a strong position, but Farrell sees room to improve.

"There's plenty. Honestly, there's plenty," he said.

"The point of the two-day camp that we've just had was to make sure that we recognised those areas and that we try to eradicate those errors in our session against the 20s today. It was a pretty important session for us because we used it like gameday preparation, we'll meet back up on Monday night and we'll review that session as though it was a game.

"There's plenty of learnings on Wednesday and certainly this morning before the session. It was a decent session. Because of those learnings, we trained pretty well. That was pleasing.

"What are the areas? Well, the obvious bits that you guys would know as well as us. We created plenty of opportunities and there's some great play to get us there but we didn't convert them all.

"On the back of that, we probably created a few more opportunities than we thought, that we didn't recognise which is something that has been a bit obvious to us as well. Getting better at most things.

"Our set-piece got better, it can certainly keep getting better and that's what we'll want to do Our counterattack is on an upward curve but we missed some opportunities there. In general, most things that need to get better and have to, with the week that's coming up next week."

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