Farrell intent on imposing 'plan that we know' on France

The Ireland head coach insists his side won’t be playing high-risk rugby in search of a four-try win in France.

Farrell at training today with Ross Byrne.
Farrell at training today with Ross Byrne.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Andy Farrell says Ireland won’t be rolling the dice with a ‘high-risk’ gameplan when they take on France in Paris on Saturday.

Farrell unveiled his starting line-up for the Championship’s long overdue curtain-closer this weekend today, a starting XV that is unchanged from the one that finished the first half of the win over Italy after Robbie Henshaw replaced the injured Garry Ringrose.

While England can take the Six Nations summit with a large winning margin and bonus point success against Italy, Ireland can claim the title by scoring four tries in a win over France on Saturday night.

It won’t be a case of flinging the ball around, however.

“A high-risk strategy? Probably not,” Farrell said in his virtual press conference from Abbottstown today.

“A plan that we know, that we’re comfortable with, that we can play our own game and see how that affects France along the way as well.

It’s going to be a game of feel, we’ll feel how it’s going throughout, but there certainly won’t be a high-risk strategy.

“Otherwise, you see the type of team we’re playing against, we could end up shooting ourselves in the foot massively.”

The resurgence of France’s historic strength of free-flowing attack coupled with the steel injected by Shaun Edwards’ defence makes Les Bleus a formidable opponent. Certainly not the team you would hand pick when a bonus point win is required.

“They are so dangerous, so there’s no point scoring four tries and them scoring six, we won’t get reward from that.

“So we’ll stick to the plan and see how it unfolds, and hopefully we can try to put enough pressure on the game to try to open it up somewhere along the line. But it’s a tough old task isn’t it, that? We know what they are capable of.”

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Beyond the lure of a trophy to mark the end of the strangest Six Nations campaign to date, Farrell cited the motivating factor of lifting the spirits of a nation as key.

The mood of the camp under Farrell’s watch will be of greater significance to the outcome in Paris. The former defence coach has succeeded in reviving the enjoyment factor for Ireland’s international front liners and the unity in the squad is what gives the head coach confidence in the mission ahead.

“The togetherness, the thought process among the group that we’re not just doing it for the individuals, we’re doing it for the group and for what’s going on in the country at the moment,” said Farrell.

“The added little addition of a stalwart in our team having his 100th cap (Cian Healy), it’s a pretty special week for us all.”

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Sean Farrell

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