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Farrell hopes there’s more to come from Ireland

Andy Farrell says he hopes there’s more to come from his Ireland side, after they sealed back-to-back Guinness Six Nations titles.

A 17-13 win was enough for the defending champions to see off a determined Scotland side at the Aviva Stadium, with tries for Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter and seven points off the boot of Jack Crowley edging them to victory.

Last week’s defeat away to England looked to be hanging over the Irish performance for chunks of this game, but while they missed multiple chances to kill the tie in the third quarter, the physical toll of defence proved too much for the Scots, with Porter’s try on 65 minutes giving Ireland some breathing room.

And Farrell says while it wasn’t a classic performance, the close nature of the game makes the win a little bit sweeter.

“I suppose it does. It’s a proper Test match and when a trophy is on the line for the both of us, that’s how it should be, shouldn’t it?,” he said.

“I’ve no doubt that Scotland will be proud of their performance as well as us, but ultimately we’re delighted. It’s about winning championships for us and that’s 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’s 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’s eyes lit up when he was asked to talk through the winning try from Porter.

The loosehead prop barged his way over the line from a five-metre tap-penalty, with some smoke and mirrors creating the gap for him to run through, following a neat switch.

A few minutes earlier, Ireland had taken the direct approach with a similar penalty, and the Ireland coach says it was all part of a plan to lay a trap for Gregor Townsend’s side.

Andrew Porter’s try proved crucial

“We set it up well didn’t we? Honestly, we’d three set-plays from tap five metres before the line, one of them that we’ve not done. We’d not done any throughout [the Six Nations] and we’ve been practicing day in, day out to get right.

“We made a bollocks of it yesterday in the captain’s run here, but we set it up nicely because the first one [penalty] was direct, the second one, I suppose they thought the directness was coming again but a bit of subtlety, Andrew Porter charging on the inside was a nice one for us but we’ve still got one in the bag,” he added.

The post-match press conference at the Aviva was dominated by questions for captain Peter O’Mahony, who admitted he will be considering his future in international rugby in the coming weeks.

And Farrell paid tribute to the 34-year-old (below), before adding that he won’t rush him into a decision.

“Whatever its right for him. I’ve been an unbelievable, big fan of Pete all his career and we’ve a close enough relationship to be honest with one and other, and we’ve been talking about his career, certainly over when it’s getting to the end, for the last year. We’re realists as far as that’s concerned.

“I’ve no doubt we’ll chew the fat on all that over the next coming days.”

For Farrell, attention now turns to the summer, and Ireland’s looming Test series against the world champions South Africa.

And the Englishman says he’s excited about where this group of players can go.

“I reckon the loss last week [against England] will be the best thing for us as a group because some of these lads, subconsciously now – not through their own doing – they’ve been used to winning. They have, but the special thing about the Six Nations, and why the Grand Slams are so hard to do is that it changes week on week like we all know.

“Some people are fighting for their lives and for this group, for some of the lads who are not used to losing at all, I don’t know, I’ll have to ask them, do they get to point where they’re 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 changes week to week and that Test match last week was a proper Test match in Twickenham, and so it should be. We’ll learn the lessons from that and that will be powerful for us going forward like this one was tonight.

“This was a proper Test match. Scotland are a great side. I thought they were tenacious, they were tough and I actually thought we played bloody well. We came out of the blocks in the second half and that was magnificent. The power, the pace we put into the game, but we couldn’t get over the line but that’s how it should be.”


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