Far­rell praises true Ir­ish grit

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport - Dublin

– Andy Far­rell praised the grit the Ire­land team showed se­cur­ing his first win as head coach in the 19-12 Six Na­tions clash with Scot­land at Lans­downe Road on Satur­day.

The Ir­ish rode their luck against an in­ci­sive Scot­tish side that spurned sev­eral chances, the most glar­ing when cap­tain Stu­art Hogg dropped the ball as he crossed the try-line with the Ir­ish lead­ing 16-9.

In the end, 19 points from cap­tain Johnny Sex­ton (right) edged Ire­land to the win in Far­rell’s first Test since step­ping up from as­sis­tant to Joe Sch­midt fol­low­ing the World Cup last year.

“It was a de­cent start,” said the 44-year-old English­man. “Our per­for­mance was summed up in the last five min­utes. We asked the lads to stand for some­thing this week and you could eas­ily see the true Ir­ish grit.

“There were guys out there not used to play­ing for so long but due to in­juries were still track­ing back in the fi­nal five min­utes. The pack was mag­nif­i­cent.”

Sex­ton praised the courage of the play­ers declar­ing their per­for­mance in de­fence as “un­be­liev­able”.

The 34-year-old had not played com­pet­i­tive rugby since early De­cem­ber be­cause of a knee in­jury.

“I felt good but ob­vi­ously rusty,” he said. “It is tough when you are in a brace for three weeks and then get­ting fit for the next three weeks.

“It is not about me, it is about the team and win­ning. If I can help with that, then great.”

Far­rell, fa­ther of Eng­land cap­tain Owen, praised the 2018 World Player-of-theYear’s per­for­mance.

“For him not to fight in anger till Thurs­day says it all about the man and his pas­sion to lead his coun­try for the first time (in the Six Na­tions).

“To deal with that and lead the side like that is truly mag­nif­i­cent.”

Far­rell ac­knowl­edged there were things to im­prove next week lead­ing up to Satur­day’s home game with Grand Slam hold­ers

Wales, who opened with a 42-0 thrash­ing of Italy.

“We got car­ried away at times,” he said. “Some of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing was good but some was way­ward, we are a work in progress.

“We asked them to stand for some­thing and again they showed true Ir­ish grit.

“There is plenty to work on, but some good.”

Sex­ton, who had a poor year in 2019 as fit­ness prob­lems af­fected his form, said it had been hard for the team to ex­press them­selves with­out be­ing more than a con­verted try ahead.

“The first game of the tour­na­ment is all about win­ning,” he said.

“Last year in Eng­land we lost and that was im­me­di­ately the Triple Crown gone.” – AFP

Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

MORE TO COME. Welsh fly­half Dan Biggar (left) con­grat­u­lates wing Josh Adams af­ter scor­ing his sec­ond try dur­ing their Six Na­tions match against Italy at Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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