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Farrell expects All Blacks to be 'whole lot tougher' than Springboks match

By PA
Head coach Andy Farrell speaks to Tadhg Furlong during an Ireland rugby squad training session at Complexe de la Chambrerie in Tours, France. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Andy Farrell insists a World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand is “as tough as it gets” after “little old Ireland” topped Pool B thanks to a six-try demolition of Scotland.

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The rampant Six Nations champions emphatically underlined their status as Test rugby’s top-ranked side by banishing any lingering doubts of an early exit with a crushing 36-14 success which eliminated the Scots.

Ireland will return to Paris next Saturday for a showdown with the All Blacks seeking to make history by progressing beyond the last eight of the tournament for the first time.

Head coach Farrell led his side to a landmark series success in New Zealand last summer and is braced for another major test following statement Stade de France victories over reigning champions South Africa and Scotland.

“New Zealand are a fantastic side, and for little old Ireland to be talked about in the same bracket as the All Blacks shows how far we’ve come as a rugby-playing nation,” he said.

“The respect we’ve got for New Zealand is through the roof.

“The form they’ve got at this moment in time is top drawer and I’m sure that they will be relishing this fixture to try and put a few things right. It’s tough, it’s as tough as it gets.

“Two weeks ago (against South Africa), it was a tough game and this one was knock-out type rugby so it gets a whole lot tougher next week against the All Blacks and hopefully they will need to be at their best to beat us as well.”

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Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
2
Draws
0
Wins
3
Average Points scored
22
30
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
40%

James Lowe’s early try settled any Irish nerves in Saint-Denis before Hugo Keenan crossed either side of a score from the recalled Iain Henderson to quickly take the game away from shell-shocked Scotland.

Dan Sheehan and Garry Ringrose added to the opposition’s embarrassment, prior to consolation tries from Scottish pair Ewan Ashman and Ali Price.

Farrell must wait to discover the true cost of a feisty affair in the French capital, with wings Mack Hansen and Lowe and replacement lock James Ryan each sustaining injuries.

“Obviously, we’ll see how they pull up in the morning but Mack went off with a HIA (head injury assessment) and when he came back on he felt his calf straight away, so we got him off,” said Farrell.

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“James Ryan has a bit of a knock on his wrist that we have to assess more, so we’ll see how he is now.

“James Lowe got a bang in the eye, his eye shut and he couldn’t really see much. His vision was coming back towards the end of the game, which is good.

“Then, a few more bangs and bruises that we’ll need to assess tomorrow.”

Team Form

Last 5 Games

4
Wins
4
1
Streak
1
19
Tries Scored
36
84
Points Difference
193
4/5
First Try
5/5
4/5
First Points
3/5
5/5
Race To 10 Points
4/5

Ireland once again performed a celebratory lap of honour in front of tens of thousands of jubilant Irish supporters.

Farrell savoured another special occasion, while wishing he could simultaneously enjoy the “bonkers” scenes back home.

“My wife and me two girls were there, that’s why I was singing to them,” he said.

“I think it’s amazing, the songs at the end of the game, I love all that.

“We got a bit of stick, didn’t we, for walking around against South Africa, but we walk round and thank the fans after every game.

“It’s the least we can do when they turn up in their thousands like they’ve done.

“We play for them, we talk about it every week. I talked about it before the game today in the dressing room, it means more than what people think, 100 per cent.

“I know that France is buzzing with Irish people, but I believe it’s bonkers back home. We’re torn a bit, enjoying it with the fans back home or stay here? We’ll stay here for now!”

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mitch 51 minutes ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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