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We have plenty of 'dog' in the pack - Farrell rejects O'Driscoll criticism

 

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Andy Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Andy Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Andy Farrell. Photo: Sportsfile

Ireland coach Andy Farrell has rejected former captain Brian O'Driscoll's assessment of his forward pack.

Speaking last week, the legendary centre questioned whether the current group of forwards have enough of a mean streak to thrive at the top level.

"I just wonder, do we have that level, in the best possible way, that 'thug' within the team that you want to throw their weight around a little bit and set out a few markers," he said.

Farrell (right) recalled Robbie Henshaw and Peter O'Mahony to the team to face Wales on Saturday, adding uncapped No 8 Max Deegan and experienced Munster winger Keith Earls to the bench as Garry Ringrose and Caelan Doris miss out through injury.

Although they beat Scotland last weekend, his team lost the gainline battle and he is looking for more.

But he does not agree with O'Driscoll, with whom he worked on the 2013 Lions tour.

"I don't, actually," he said. "There was plenty said about CJ Stander as well last week and he gave a man-of-the-match performance. There's plenty of dog in them. He was part of that team that there was no dog in.

"I saw some good reactions from people. Sometimes they were rightly a bit upset with losing a few collisions, then we saw a reaction.

"Devin Toner smashed a few when he came on, which was great. We had a tighthead prop in the 96th minute or whatever smashing people back on the line.

"That was ferocious, we got some nice carries that got us over the gainline but Scotland put in two-man hits, hitting us back and fair play to them for doing that.

"But, sometimes, within the game we reverted back to type a little bit where we tried to solve problems on our own. That probably had a bit of a knock-on effect with our continuity and flow, we got a bit flat at times because of that."

Irish Independent