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Andy Farrell on whether World Cup ‘hangover’ was a concern before France thumping

By PA
Andy Farrell, Head Coach of Ireland, looks on during the warm up prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Ireland at Orange Velodrome on February 02, 2024 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Andy Farrell insists he had no concerns about Ireland suffering a World Cup hangover during Friday’s thumping Guinness Six Nations win over France.

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Both sides went into a blockbuster championship opener in Marseille on the back of having their dreams of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup shattered by narrow quarter-finals exits.

Reigning Grand Slam champions Ireland emphatically responded with a 38-17 bonus-point success at Stade Velodrome to begin their title defence with a bang and help ease memories of a painful last-eight loss to New Zealand in October.

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“There are no hangovers with us,” said head coach Farrell.

“There’s a realisation of where we’re at and where we need to go to next and what we need to learn and that’s it.

“Hangovers are for tomorrow; we’re three months down the line – that’s a big hangover, if you can’t get over it in that time.

“We talk about our past performances all the time, sometimes we go back three years to say we learnt this or whatever.

“Of course we’ll learn big things from the All Blacks defeat but it’s not a hangover, it’s just the next step in how we progress going forward as a team and that’s how it should be in my opinion.”

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Tries from Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Calvin Nash, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher stunned France to silence the majority of a capacity crowd at Stade Velodrome.

Match Summary

1
Penalty Goals
1
2
Tries
5
2
Conversions
5
0
Drop Goals
0
93
Carries
113
5
Line Breaks
6
13
Turnovers Lost
7
2
Turnovers Won
4

Les Bleus had little answer to their dominant visitors and played around 60 minutes of the match with 14 men after Paul Willemse was sin-binned and then sent off following high tackles on Andrew Porter and Caelan Doris.

Despite Ireland registering their biggest victory away to France, new captain Peter O’Mahony, who succeeded Johnny Sexton following the World Cup, believes there is significant room for improvement moving towards a round-two clash with Italy.

“We’ve been on a journey for a long time and we’ve had lots of great experiences and banked them and we’ve had some tough ones and banked them as well,” said O’Mahony.

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“It’s always about getting better and it was another step for the group.

“We spoke about it being a huge occasion for us but, at the same time, it’s just another game for us and how calm and composed we could really be in an environment like that out there.

“It was a great test for the group. We’ve plenty to work on but there were parts of the game that felt like a good performance.”

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