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Twickenham visit looms for Farrell's Ireland after strong Six Nations start

‘We want to keep the pressure on,’ said the Ireland boss after the win over Wales.

“HONESTLY, I’VE NOT even thought about it.”

So says Andy Farrell when he’s asked how he feels about heading to Twickenham to take on his native England as the head coach of Ireland in two weekends’ time.

His son, Owen, will be captaining the opposition so it will surely be a strange experience in that sense alone. Add in the fact that Farrell had some superb days and some dark days with England at Twickers as an assistant coach and it will surely be an odd outing for him on 23 February.

ireland-v-scotland-guinness-six-nations-aviva-stadium Ireland will travel to Twickenham on the back of two wins. Source: Donall Farmer

Keen not to make it about him, Farrell deflects by underlining that his Ireland team have made a good start to the Six Nations with two from two, but adds that he’s happy they have so much to improve on.

Nine match points in total so far and second in the championship table to France only on points difference, it’s been a positive start for Ireland.

“It is important but I suppose at this stage, it’s just about learning the lessons and getting better and understanding what we are trying to achieve,” said Farrell on Saturday evening after the 24-14 bonus-point win over Wales.

“If you can do that on the back of a win all the better really.

“I just said to the lads in the changing room that it is a great place to be – you have got two from two and there is still plenty to fix.”

Two victories to open the championship would appear to ease the pressure on Ireland as they now look towards the first Six Nations break weekend and then onto that trip to Twickenham for a Sunday clash with Eddie Jones’ side.

But Farrell and his players won’t be heading to London simply to have a decent crack at the English. We can be certain that behind closed doors, this Irish group will already be feeling that a championship success is now very realistic.

“We want to keep the pressure on,” said Farrell.

andy-farrell-with-fans-ahead-of-the-game Andy Farrell with some Ireland fans before Saturday's win over Wales. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Our review last week was a joint-review with all concerned, it was honest and it was open and there was no finger-pointing and we just got on with fixing what we needed to.

“Did we fix it all? No, because everyone is looking for the perfect performance. We was never going to get it today because there is still plenty to do, but that’s why I’m looking forward to next week.

“I’m looking forward to a few lads going back and playing for the provinces and I look forward to getting them back up as a squad of 35 or 36 to join up together on the Monday of the England week. As I said, it’s a good place to place to be.”

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Ireland will have a three-day training camp in Cork this week before breaking for the weekend, many players from the extended squad returning to their provinces to play but Farrell’s front-liners putting their feet up.

The head coach has been pleased with the form of those men in the opening two weeks of the championship. The likes of CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, and Conor Murray had come under severe scrutiny from supporters and the media leading into the Six Nations, but Farrell has been impressed with how they have focused to deliver performances.

“They have been themselves, a driving force all week for the team, driving the team on to the performance they gave out there,” said Farrell.

“So, I suppose they hear all the noise and they have been up for press so they have been answering questions but it doesn’t affect players of that quality.”

Ireland have some early momentum.

But while England haven’t looked themselves yet in this championship, the toughest task for Farrell’s men yet is likely ahead in two weekends’ time.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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