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The Andy Farrell title verdict, rumours about O'Mahony retirement

By PA
Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony walks off at the Aviva on Saturday with the Six Nations trophy (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Andy Farrell believes falling short of back-to-back Grand Slams will be the “best thing” for the development of his triumphant Ireland squad after masterminding another title success.

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Farrell’s men retained the Guinness Six Nations trophy on Saturday by beating Scotland 17-13 in Dublin to bounce back from having their 100 per cent record extinguished in agonising fashion against England.

Ireland’s current crop of stars are largely unfamiliar with losing thanks to a remarkable run of 33 wins from 37 Tests during the past three years.

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Rassie Erasmus on Sam Warburton’s claims that Ireland are the best team in the world

Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus says he didn’t pay too much attention to Sam Warburton’s comments about Ireland being the best team in the World.

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Rassie Erasmus on Sam Warburton’s claims that Ireland are the best team in the world

Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus says he didn’t pay too much attention to Sam Warburton’s comments about Ireland being the best team in the World.

Head coach Farrell feels last weekend’s 23-22 Twickenham defeat will ultimately prevent complacency from creeping in moving towards a two-match summer series against world champions South Africa and autumn appointments with New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Australia.

“It was a fantastic campaign for this group and we are continuing on from where we left off and trying to improve as a group,” he said.

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“But we all know things change year on year as far as personnel is concerned and injuries and whatnot, staff leaving, staff coming in, new staff.

“I reckon the loss last week will be the best thing for us as a group because some of these lads, subconsciously now, not through their own doing, they have been used to winning.

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“For some of the lads who are not used to losing at all, they get to the point where they are turning up for games actually thinking, ‘We’re doing it’.

“You’re never ‘doing it’. You’re never doing it in the Six Nations because things change week to week and that Test match last week was a proper Test match in Twickenham. We will learn the lessons from that and that will be powerful for us going forward like this one (against Scotland) was.”

Tries from Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter, plus seven points from Jack Crowley, put Ireland on course for championship glory at the Aviva Stadium before Huw Jones’ late consolation set up a nervy finale.

Farrell, who will miss next year’s Six Nations campaign as he takes a break to lead the British and Irish Lions’ 2025 tour of Australia, is “unbelievably proud” of his players’ achievements.

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“I’ve no doubt that Scotland will be proud of their performance but ultimately we are delighted,” he said. “It’s about winning championships for us and that is unbelievably pleasing because it’s so hard to do.

“Everyone constantly talks about Grand Slams and we get carried away with it so much. Back-to-back Grand Slams have never been done before. There is obviously a good reason for that.

“But for us to be in a position to win back-to-back Six Nations is a nice feeling because it goes down in history for Irish rugby. We’re unbelievably proud of the group.”

Farrell may have to appoint a new captain when his squad reconvene to face the Springboks in July as current skipper Peter O’Mahony contemplates international retirement. The Englishman is set for imminent talks with the veteran Munster flanker.

Asked if he will try to convince O’Mahony to continue, Farrell replied: “Whatever is right for him. I have been an unbelievably big fan of Pete all his career and we have a close enough relationship to be honest with one another.

“We have been talking about his career, certainly over when it’s getting to the end, for the last year. We are realists as far as that is concerned. I have no doubt we will chew the fat on all that over the coming days.”

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Comments

1 Comment
T
Turlough 129 days ago

Fair assessment and great for Ireland to get a Championship win.
As regards the ridiculous click bait discussion on ‘Are Ireland greatest’:
The last two rounds are a more accurate assessment of where its at.
SA and NZ are still top 2.
Although dominated by England, that was a close Twickenham match. Ireland 3rd due to being 6N champions.
The summer tests will be very informative.
If you were to look at a long range NH contender. I would look at France. England scored 21 points in 7 mins last night and France still won.
Ireland, Scotland and the emergence of England will mould a formidable French team capable of attack but also of repelling those various threats.
The 6N is getting stronger and France should emerge strongest.

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