Farrell warns Ireland will need more composure
Andy Farrell will demand more composure than his Irish players showed against 13-man Italy if his title-seeking side are to get the better of England at Twickenham on March 12.
The Ireland head coach saw his side run to nine tries in a 57-6 rout of the Italians at the Aviva Stadium yesterday to keep the pressure on unbeaten Guinness Six Nations leaders France, but didn’t failed to maintain cohesion and balance when their opponents were reduced to 13 men by the sending off of substitute hooker Epalahame Faiva in the 20th minute and then the loss of a back lineman to bring in a front row substitute while having to withdraw another attacker according to the Laws of the Game following a red card.
It has been frustrating at times and Farrell acknowledged there would be plenty of room for improvement over the next couple of weeks if Ireland were to topple an England side on their own turf whose defeat to Wales at Twickenham on Saturday brought impressed the Irish head coach.
“We know they’re going to attack us hard, and Italy went bad sometimes today and we weren’t calm enough, so we have to be a bit more precise there,” Farrell said. “We know (England) like to kick the ball for territory a lot, like they have done in the last two seasons.
“I thought they were good. I thought in the first half they were very dominant when it came to territory and they turned the scoreboard. They fully deserved their halftime lead and I assume, like us, that they will have something to think about over the next two weeks.
The Irish boos didn’t seem too worried about losing a few of their players during the game. Loosehead prop Andrew Porter was replaced by Dave Kilcoyne in the 43rd minute after receiving ankle treatment while center Robbie Henshaw was sent off for a head injury assessment in the 67th minute.
“Robbie Henshaw is following protocols but he looks good in the locker room and we expect that to run its course,” Farrell said. “Andrew Porter is nursing a bit of a sprained ankle. He went lightly on his ankle. He was running away and he could have kept going, but we thought we could get him out at this point.