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Ireland coach says they now have their heads right after early World Cup exit

By PA
Paris , France - 11 October 2023; Ireland coaches, from left, assistant coach Mike Catt, head coach Andy Farrell and national scrum coach John Fogarty during an Ireland Rugby squad training session at Stade Omnisports des Fauvettes in Domont, France. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

World Cup disappointment has not diminished belief among Ireland’s squad ahead of their Guinness Six Nations title defence, according to scrum coach John Fogarty.

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Andy Farrell’s reigning Grand Slam champions take on pre-tournament favourites France in Friday’s championship curtain-raiser in Marseille.

The match at Stade Velodrome is Ireland’s first since an agonising 28-24 quarter-final loss to New Zealand in October halted their 17-match winning run and hopes of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.

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Siya Kolisi and Jim Hamilton in Paris | preview | RPTV

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“There was so much belief going into that game, I don’t think that belief has slipped away,” said Fogarty, according to the Irish Examiner.

“That belief is 100 per cent there in the squad. You can see it in mini-meetings, unit meetings, how the players are interacting with each other. They’re preparing to perform now.

“The (New Zealand) game, fine margins and small margins, and it’s not untrue. There was small margins, but we need to make sure we’re on the right side of those.

“What an opportunity now for this squad. Andy says ‘go and make it happen’.

“There’s a lot of belief within the squad, a lot of clarity and it’s going to be difficult because of a huge crowd, France at home in Marseille. It’s incredibly exciting.”

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Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
23
27
First try wins
60%
Home team wins
60%

Ireland’s 34-man squad are on day five of their week-long warm-weather training camp on Portugal’s Algarve.

Head coach Farrell, who earlier this month appointed Peter O’Mahony as his new captain following the retirement of Johnny Sexton, is set to name his team on Wednesday afternoon.

The Englishman currently has no injury concerns.

“We’re good, a clean bill of health, which is great,” said Fogarty.

“For us, it’s (about) building on what we’ve done over the last few months and couple of years.

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“We have a good body of work done, there’s really good experience built into the squad, and there’s been some tough days over the last number of years, and there’s nice resilience built into the squad.”

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