Connors keen to get Autumn Nations Cup going as Ireland take lessons from Paris

The 24-year-old openside flanker is eager to add to his first two Test caps.

Connors won his second Ireland cap in Paris.
Connors won his second Ireland cap in Paris.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

BACK ROW WILL Connors has vowed that Ireland will use lessons from their Six Nations defeat in Paris last weekend to improve as a team.

Andy Farrell’s men lost 35-27 at Stade de France on Saturday night when a win on a six-point margin would have handed them the Six Nations title.

Connors, who made just his second Ireland appearance in the clash with the French, believes that he and his team-mates can use the experience as a positive force to get better. 

“There is definitely a big lesson learned,” said Connors. “At that level, you have to take your opportunities when they come and they are few and far between especially against a quality side like France.

“We probably gave them more opportunity than we would have hoped on the night, stuff that we wouldn’t usually. It’s not that the game itself came as a surprise. It was more that we didn’t deal with it as well as we should have from an individual and a group perspective.”

Connors has enjoyed a real rise through the Leinster ranks into Ireland camp over the past year, with his first-ever start in the Heineken Champions Cup coming against Saracens in September before his first Ireland cap against Italy two weekends ago.

“There were a lot of lessons learned, even with Leinster there were similar lessons against Saracens,” says the 24-year-old.

“It’s just about being able to deliver those lessons when they are given and moving on from there. The disappointment around the group at the moment… there were a lot of people at home we wanted to make proud and give the country a bit of a lift and that’s probably the toughest part of it all. We didn’t get to deliver on that aspect.” 

will-connors Ireland learned plenty of lessons in Paris. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Connors believes many of Ireland’s issues against France are fixable in a short period of time and he is relieved that Farrell’s men get to play again so soon, with the Autumn Nations Cup kicking-off with a clash against Wales in Dublin on Friday 13 November. 

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With Ireland set to regather for training on Thursday, the twice-capped openside flanker is hoping for more Test matches over the course of Ireland’s four games in that new competition.

“There is still a huge amount to come from this group,” said Connors. “We’re definitely looking forward to getting back into it.

“That’s the way the spirit works, lads just want to get back at it. We need to right our wrongs and the best way to do that is to get straight back into it, get into the depths of what went wrong, and work on what we need to improve on.”

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Murray Kinsella

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