‘The grandkids are coming over, we'll see if we can squeeze them to cheer for Ireland!’ - Andy Farrell

16 March 2023; Head coach Andy Farrell speaking during an Ireland rugby media conference at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Forty-eight hours out from the biggest game of his tenure in charge of Ireland, Andy Farrell cut a relaxed figure beneath the Aviva Stadium.

His son Owen is back to lead the England team that stands in his side's way of a Grand Slam and his family are coming to the game, so Farrell Snr is hoping to sway them his way ahead of the big game.

The dynamic between the two Farrells has fascinated everyone outside the camp since they worked together at England, but they're comfortable with competing against each other.

"I'll have a conversation, yeah," he said of Owen.

"We don't ask questions that put the other person in too much of a predicament.

"I know that he's travelling over today, he's not staying too far from our house actually.

"The grandkids are coming over today as well, so we'll be trying to poach them into our captain's run tomorrow and see if we can squeeze them to cheer for Ireland. We'll see how that goes.

"I've told him (Owen's eldest son) to bring (his jersey), yeah, so we'll see what he wears on Saturday."

Winning a Grand Slam in Dublin on St Patrick's Day would be a fitting end to a stunning campaign for Farrell and his team and he is expecting supporters to get in early and make plenty of noise in support of the home side.

"It's something that we've talked about from day one coming in, before we went to Portugal, that it's not been done here," he said.

"We've earned the right to have a go at that so we know how much it means to the Irish people and their support has been unbelievable for us and I hope there's a bit of a two-way thing on Saturday where we try and get them going and they try and get us going as well. You can feel the buzz.

"That's what we've done, we've put ourselves in a position to have a crack at this and it's something that we've been up front about from the beginning, which is pretty pleasing. Now we're here, we've got to deliver.

"We've performed pretty well in big games but it's never been perfect and that's the answer really, that we're always chasing something and when you're trying to be the team that you know you can be, it's pretty difficult to nail that down every single week.

"There's always something to chase and our potential hasn't been reached yet so there's always a realisation of what we're trying to get after and achieve and that's always bigger than the result, it keeps us pretty grounded."

Farrell expects England to be a lot better after their humiliating record home defeat to IFrance last weekend.

"It's what they have been saying, you know Ellis Genge coming out and saying they're going to fight," he said.

"Of course 100% they will and they're going to be formidable opponents for us at the weekend, they are. I know the quality of player that they've got, and watching them also in the Six Nations and in patches we've seen in their attacking game when it has been flowing etc, they're as dangerous as anyone in the competition.

"So I think they'll have the emotional edge, obviously. There's no better tonic, is there than getting back out there and playing again and putting a few things right.

"So you'd expect them to be way better than their best so far because I know that's what is in them, I know the fight that's in the player and the coaching staff.

"I suppose in many ways this is the perfect weekend for them so we're expecting to be at their best and that's good for us, again it allows us to challenge ourselves."