Dan Sheridan/INPHO Ireland notched a bonus-point win yesterday.
The Boss

'Onto the next one' - Farrell a happy man as Ireland look to Paris

An opening-day victory against Wales tees this Irish side up for a visit to France.

A BONUS POINT in the bag, a seven-day turnaround, and what looks like a clean bill of health.

Andy Farrell will surely have woken this morning with some confidence about Ireland’s Six Nations trip to Paris next weekend. Les Bleus should get up and running themselves with a big victory over Italy today but Ireland appear to be in a good place.

Yesterday’s 29-7 win against Wales was an ideal start for Farrell’s team in the 2022 championship. The Irish pack dominated, their attack tore Wales apart at times, the defensive effort was largely solid, and debutant left wing Mack Hansen shone. 

Farrell will still pick out lots of moments where things didn’t go perfectly for Ireland but his team is in a happy place ahead of the visit to Stade de France, even if it will be a considerably different challenge against the Fabien Galthié’s side.

“It was a tough task,” said Farrell of overcoming Wales. “You can ask these guys, they’re pretty sore. I thought Wales made it very hard work.

“They got off the line quickly and tried to put us under pressure but I thought we was nice and calm, especially in those conditions.

“Fair play to the players for the courage of their convictions to play the game that we wanted to play. It wasn’t perfect, it never was going to be in those conditions, but I thought some of the execution was great.

“As far as the hit-out is concerned, it was perfect for us. Some of our guys have not played a big home game like that in a long time, so to get people back up and running was great.

“Now we have a seven-day turnaround so we must make sure we recover properly and onto the next one.”

The only other time Ireland have gone to Paris under Farrell so far was a disappointing occasion in 2020 when they came up short on a 35-27 scoreline.

bundee-aki-celebrates-winning-with-his-son-andronicus-junior-papamau-aki Dan Sheridan / INPHO Bundee Aki celebrates winning with his son Andronicus Junior Papamau Aki. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The current Irish team certainly seems to be in a better place to go and look for a win against the French, with Farrell stating his confidence in how hard the squad worked as they “pushed the boundaries” during their 12-day build-up to this Six Nations.

The Irish attack flourished at times against Wales, continuing from where they left off in the autumn, and there could have been more than the four tries Ireland finished with had they been more clinical.

But Farrell was happy with the Irish defensive effort in Dublin, even though they gave up a frustrating late try to Wales back row Taine Basham.

“That was the most unpleasing thing about our performance, we got a bit loose,” said Farrell.

“It looked as though we was just trying to keep playing for the sake of playing. We didn’t manage that particular part that well and the looseness ended up with a Welsh try.

“It wasn’t how we had defended before that because our defence was good and it’s something we really pride ourselves on. People are talking about the way we’re playing the game at the moment but the best part of our game by a country mile is our defence.”

Among the positives for Ireland was the performance of left wing Hansen on his Test debut, with the Connacht man particularly prominent in attack.

“We’re not surprised,” said Farrell. “He’s got the temperament for handling debuts, he’s very cool, calm, and collected with how he plays the game.

“It suits how we play the game as well, we want to be nice and controlled in how we make decisions and I thought he was pretty smooth at times.”

Farrell will watch events in Paris today with keen interest knowing that a much bigger test lies ahead next weekend.

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