Dave Winter/INPHO
Big call
'It just felt like it was the right decision at the time' - Ireland captain Ryan
Andy Farrell hailed his players’ mental strength after a narrow defeat to France.

IRELAND CAPTAIN JAMES Ryan says he and his team felt they could score again late on against France after opting to kick a 72nd-minute penalty at goal in Stade de France.

Andy Farrell’s side were trailing 27-21 when they opted to take the three points from the tee rather than kicking into the left corner and going for a winning try.

However, France finished strongly and kicked another penalty of their own late on to win 30-24 after a brilliant Guinness Six Nations game. 

“It just felt like it was the right decision at the time,” said Ryan post-match in Paris when asked about that penalty decision.

“We were imposing our game on them in that period. We felt confident in our attack and we thought we could bring the game to three points and we backed ourselves to go and win the game then off the back of that.”

Ireland boss Farrell said he trusts his players to make those big decisions out on the pitch and he felt taking the points was the correct call.

“It’s the right decision, there is no doubt about that,” said Farrell.

“They feel the game, they are in the moment, they understand what is happening. There is plenty of time left, we have a lineout after that when we was a couple of points down.

“We had a lineout and an opportunity to go and score the try and we didn’t and that’s the game, so I back them to make those calls.”

Farrell was obviously disappointed with the outcome in Paris but he was encouraged by the manner in which his team stayed in the fight and pushed France all the way.

“I’ve seen this French side take teams to the sword when they get a sniff but when our backs were to the wall at 22-7, to find a way back and be on top for large parts of that second half, it shows everything about us,” said Farrell.

“We will be harsh and honest with ourselves about some decisions that we made along the way and things that weren’t quite right but all in all it was a hell of a Test match.

“France played a very good game from the start. It wasn’t a plan of ours to go 10 points down after a few minutes and at one stage we was 22-7 down so all credit to France but I must say it shows the character and the fitness of the Irish side and the spirit that we had to be in with a chance of winning the game there at the end.

“We already knew that we had character and that the squad was unbelievably fit and the mental strength was something we expected of ourselves. Maybe any side that comes here to Paris and finds itself 22-7 down, we’ve seen the French take advantage of that many times and tip a team over the edge.

“That wasn’t going to be the case with us so I think our mental strength was fantastic tonight.”

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