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'Andy will do his job and Owen will do his' - Father and son meet in Dublin

The Ireland defence coach will have to negate the threat of England’s centre this weekend.

IRELAND WERE KEEN for the meeting of Andy Farrell’s defence and England inside centre Owen Farrell not to become a talking point this week, but it was never likely to be avoided.

Owen Farrell and Andy Farrell celebrate Owen and Andy Farrell on the 2013 Lions tour. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Rather than putting Farrell up for media duties yesterday to discuss what is an intriguing situation whereby his defence will look to pressurise his son’s playmaking prowess on Saturday in Dublin, scrum coach Greg Feek was sent out to field questions.

With some journalists having made the journey across the Irish Sea to discuss Farrell v Farrell, poor old ‘Feeky’ was always going to be put in a strange situation.

The affable and honest Kiwi set-piece specialist joked that it should have been the defence coach in his seat in the Drawing Room at Carton House, and said he was tempted to pile the pressure onto the Englishman.

I questioned Andy myself actually,” said Feek with a smile. “I said to him, ‘You should be doing this, but obviously with your son playing that is probably why you’re not.

“I mean, I suppose I don’t want to start that whole thing either, I think someone else should, but part of me wants to start it because Andy is a character. He is a great coach and he has been a great fit for us.

“And part of me wants to be very professional, but the other part of me wants to enjoy this moment of maybe capitalising on Andy and his involvement!”

Whatever about the jokes, 25-year-old Farrell poses a very serious threat to Ireland this weekend in Dublin, with his decision-making and passing skills having shone throughout this Six Nations, working in tandem with out-half George Ford.

Owen Farrell after the game Farrell after last weekend's Calcutta Cup success. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Moments like the stunning right-handed pass to set up Elliot Daly for the late winning try against Wales stand out, as did the frequent flashes of intelligence on the ball against Scotland last weekend.

Farrell’s abrasive mindset means he is capable of direct ball-carrying too, while his kicking skills are excellent, meaning he poses a rounded threat to Ireland’s defence.

For the first time since taking over as Ireland defence coach last year, and therefore for the first time in his coaching career, ‘Faz’ is attempting to negate his son’s attacking quality. Feek recognises that the match-up is a difficult one for Farrell senior.

The only thing I would say is that I respect what he is going through and it is not easy, I suppose, in some ways,” said Feek. “I have had that discussion with him and I think he is handling it, you know, the way to handle it.

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“What gets you through any of this is purely your competitiveness in what you do, you know? He will do his job and Owen will do his.

“I have never met Owen officially, so can’t really speak for him but I know Andy is being as professional as he has always been this week. Nothing changes and he has been delivering great messages about playing and being chirpy over a flat white as well.”

As for the main figure in Ireland’s coaching team, Feek says Joe Schmidt is holding up as normal despite the obvious disappointment in the wake of the defeat to Wales last weekend.

Joe Schmidt Schmidt has remained focused on the task at hand. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The possibility of a championship disappeared in Cardiff, and now Ireland are searching for a second-placed finish as they attempt to deny England a second consecutive Grand Slam.

“Joe is a workaholic, and that doesn’t change,” said Feek. “He’s a good communicator, that hasn’t changed, and his belief in what the players can do just as individuals, his staff and himself, hasn’t changed. These weeks just keep going.

We had that extra day off so obviously I didn’t see him then and it’s just been head down, back to business, and Joe’s honest. And it’s all there. You’ve all heard of his video sessions.

“Like, if we won or lost, those things don’t change either because if we had won at the weekend, you guys might have been saying, ‘Maybe you guys are over confident now’.

“So he’s not going to change after one either.”

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