Farrell warns Ireland will need more composure

Ireland failed to maintain cohesion and balance when their opponents were reduced to 13 men
Farrell warns Ireland will need more composure

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Picture date: Sunday February 27, 2022.

Andy Farrell will demand greater composure than his Ireland players showed against 13-man Italy if his title-chasing side are to get the better of England at Twickenham on March 12.

The Ireland head coach saw his team run in nine tries in a 57-6 rout of the Italians at Aviva Stadium yesterday to keep the pressure on unbeaten Guinness Six Nations leaders France, but failed to maintain their cohesion and balance when their opponents were reduced to 13 men by the sending off of replacement hooker Epalahame Faiva on 20 minutes and then losing a backline player to bring a front-row replacement on while having to withdraw another forward under the Laws of the game as a result of the red card.

It made for a frustrating watch at times and Farrell acknowledged there will be plenty of scope for improvement over the next two weeks if Ireland are to topple an English side on their home turf whose defeat of Wales at Twickenham on Saturday impressed the Irish head coach.

“We know that they’re going to come hard at us, and Italy came hard off the line at times today and we weren’t composed enough so we need to be a little bit more accurate there,” Farrell said. “We know that (England) like to kick the ball for territory a lot, the same as what they’ve done for the last couple of seasons.

“I thought they were good. I thought in the first half they were very dominant as far as territory is concerned and they kept the scoreboard ticking over. They thoroughly deserved their half-time lead and I suppose like us there will be plenty for them to ponder on in the next couple of weeks.” 

The Ireland boos did not appear too concerned at losing a couple of his players during the match. Loosehead prop Andrew Porter was replaced by Dave Kilcoyne on 43 minutes after receiving treatment on an ankle while centre Robbie Henshaw was forced off for a Head Injury Assessment on 67 minutes.

“Robbie Henshaw is going through the protocols but he looks fine in the dressing room and we expect that to take its course,” Farrell said. “Andrew Porter is nursing a bit of an ankle strain. He went over on his ankle slightly. He was running it off and he would have been able to carry on but we thought we’d get him off at that stage.”

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