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'The scoreline flattered us. I'll take responsibility' - Andy Farrell reflects on poor Irish performance

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Ireland players, from left, Rob Herring, Peter O'Mahony, Devin Toner and Keith Earls leave the pitch

Ireland players, from left, Rob Herring, Peter O'Mahony, Devin Toner and Keith Earls leave the pitch

SPORTSFILE

Ireland players, from left, Rob Herring, Peter O'Mahony, Devin Toner and Keith Earls leave the pitch

RELAND COACH Andy Farrell revealed he should be blamed for Ireland's Triple Crown demise after an error-strewn first-half display sunk his side's first hope for silverware this season.

And, after his first defeat in three matches as Irish coach, Farrell insists that Ireland cannot afford another slow start with a championship decider due in Paris next month after the expected victory against Italy is completed in a fortnight.

"We didn't start to play how we wanted to play until the game was over," said Farrell.

"England were excellent, every side will look at themselves physically and they certainly won that battle. We didn't fire a shot in that first half.

"England were fighting to stay in the championship and that's what we need to be in the next two games - I need to look at myself regarding the performance of the first half and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"The score-line flattered us. I'll take responsibility. It's about preparation and want and grit and that was lacking. You look at bounces of the ball but it comes from pressure. They were ferocious at the breakdown and they hit really hard.

"You have to deal with it as the moments come, they got some nice moments in collisions and in the set-piece and we didn't really understand how to get out of it. We felt sorry for ourselves, compounded errors and that's not good enough at this level.

"It was a knock-on effect of cumulative errors. The opposition had something to do with it obviously, they played really well.

"They played like a side that was desperate to stay in the competition, so fair play to England for that. But we'll look at ourselves for the reasons we allowed them to play the game they wanted to play.

"First and foremost, I look at myself. Why were England up for it, winning the physical edge? That's down to myself. The reality is the last try at the end allows the points difference not to be too bad and we're in the competition, you know.

"We go into the Italy game knowing what we've got to do. If we perform like we want to in that game we'll take it to the last weekend.

"We re-grouped at half-time and got out of the blocks pretty well. The points difference could be crucial with the try at the end and we're still in it. We'll go into the last game with a chance.

"We'll assess who needs game-time and assess the performance. The bench did pretty well. Cian Healy has a knock to his hip while Andrew Conway passed a HIA but we decided to keep him out."

Online Editors