Ireland: Andy Farrell ‘not worried’ despite ‘awful’ display against Fiji

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell insists that he has learned plenty about his squad following their victory over Fiji on Saturday.

Farrell made plenty of changes for the clash with the Pacific Islanders but a number of fringe players failed to impress in the 35-17 triumph.

There were mistakes aplenty in Dublin and it left the Irish boss frustrated, describing the performance as both “awful” and “pretty underwhelming”.

The 47-year-old is well aware that Ireland need a deep squad if they are to challenge for a Rugby World Cup title, but also knows that he doesn’t need to read the riot act to his players.

Reality check

“They know, they 100 per cent know,” Farrell said.

“When you’re missing so much, then people know they need to try to fill that vacuum, but they need the experience of being able to do that at the same time. At least we know where we’re at.

“I’m not worried, it is what it is.

“There’s a lot of big characters who weren’t in the changing room and I’m big on how certain people make people feel.

“We’d different leadership going on this week in all sorts of areas and it’s something we need to get to the bottom of and keep progressing with.

“Sometimes you get a performance and it leads you into a false dawn, doesn’t it?

“It’s good, especially off the back of a win, to get into the bones of it, to dig down deep and see what the reality is.”

Despite the disappointment of Saturday’s performance, Farrell’s men still made it two wins from two and will look to complete the year with another victory, this time against Australia.

The Wallabies have endured a wretched recent run and succumbed to Italy for the first time ever at the weekend.

Ireland go into the clash as heavy favourites but the head coach believes that Australia will have targeted this encounter.

“You look at their side (against Italy) and they made plenty of changes, probably because they are looking at us this week,” he said.

“I know that it’ll be a tough enough week at the start of the week, but it will certainly focus the mind and we know what’s coming.

“Looking at their performance with a similar side that is probably going to be put out against us in Paris last week was probably more like it.

“They were very strong, especially set-piece wise, they went after the French and nearly got the big ‘W’ over there.

“That’s the type of game we’re expecting.”

Nick Timoney impresses

One of the players to do his selection justice was flanker Nick Timoney, who scored two tries in the 35-17 triumph.

Timoney has a big task to usurp Josh van der Flier in the openside jersey but the 27-year-old is determined to be first choice for the country.

“I don’t want to be happy just coming and getting starts against the non-tier one nations,” he said.

“I want to be involved in the Test team properly, and contributing in the big games. I would love to be part of that (Australia).

“I would hate the idea of ever being happy about playing just in three Tests because there are knocks to others or whatever.

“I don’t know what will happen, there are world-class back-rowers ahead of me.”

READ MORE: Ireland muscle past Fiji in far from perfect performance

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