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'Average is not acceptable' - Farrell left fuming by conceded tries against Italy

The Ireland defence coach was not a happy man as Ireland switched off against Italy.

ANDY FARRELL SAYS he was left fuming by Ireland’s concession of three tries to Italy two weekends ago in the Six Nations.

Joe Schmidt’s side notched a try-scoring bonus point in victory over Conor O’Shea’s Italians, but they gave up three disappointing scores in the closing 25 minutes and needed a brilliant tackle from Keith Earls to prevent the visitors from grabbing a bonus point of their own.

Andy Farrell Farrell expects much better against Wales. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While Farrell did pick out the positives in Ireland’s defensive performance – namely the pressure that led to four Irish tries – he underlined that what happened in the closing stages two weekends ago is not acceptable for this team.

“I was concerned after the game because I was fuming,” said Farrell at Carton House today.

“Look, all you can be is honest. The plan going into the Italy game was that we needed to go after Italy with the ball and show good intent without the ball; show some good intent in our linespeed, our hunger and our physicality in defence.

“At 40-0, I thought we were doing that pretty well. For example, we want to score tries from the mistakes that we force through our defensive pressure. Within those first three-quarters of the game, four of the eight tries came from the pressure that we forced on them and that was pretty pleasing.

But the last quarter wasn’t acceptable, because average is not acceptable in this environment.

“We need to be more ruthless than that and learn to play even when the scoreboard is in our favour, to be ruthless.

“The players know that. There are some young lads who haven’t got vast amounts of experience and might have been getting carried away with themselves a little bit but to knock off – you can talk about any technicality you want – but to have a lack of intent in that last quarter was not acceptable.”

Farrell is “100%” convinced that Ireland will be better defensively against Wales this weekend, as Warren Gatland’s side come to Dublin with belief in their attacking game.

Matteo Minozzi scores a try despite Jordan Larmour Matteo Minozzi scores for Italy. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Ireland assistant coach said he dealt with the defensive errors against Italy both collectively and on an individual basis.

“We always have one-on-one feedback with everyone in the side so they all know where they stand, but in general our intent to be ruthless wasn’t up to standard.”

Debutant Jordan Larmour came in for some criticism for his defensive performance, perhaps a little harshly in the case of Matteo Minozzi’s try, but Farrell indicated that the Leinster flyer will have learned from his Test experience.

“Young kids coming into the international scene, it’s always going to be difficult,” said Farrell. “There’s so much to try and learn within the space of a really short time. Jordan will learn from that definitely.”

Farrell expects much better from his players against Wales, who will bring a greater attacking threat to the Aviva Stadium.

“The Welsh have got a very good attacking kicking game, their attack has gone through the roof,” said Farrell. “That’s been the difference with the way that they’re playing so far.

“Rob Howley should take massive credit for the way that they’re playing. On the back of that, Neil Jenkins has a massive role in their attacking kicking game.

“They’re a threat, Dan Biggar tends to put the ball on the money and they are a threat in the air themselves, so we need to be on our guard as well.”

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Murray Kinsella

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