Cian Tracey Twitter
Irish head coach Andy Farrell has thrown out the suggestion that Wales do not pose a major threat to his team in Cardiff’s Six Nations opener on Sunday.
There is growing narrative in certain parts of the Irish media that Wales will release at home this weekend.
While they haven’t yet established a foothold under new head coach Wayne Pivac, Wales remains a force to be reckoned with, according to Farrell, who was quick to disagree with the opposite view.
“Our boys know everyone in the Welsh squad very well because they play against them all the time. Some are good friends and we know what top performers they can be when they come under pressure. This is the beginning of a new competition and you will want to correct some mistakes.
« They are an experienced team that have been in good positions and previously in difficult positions. I suppose the slate is wiped off at the start of a competition, and this is a huge game for both teams. «
When asked directly what he thought of certain former Irish internationals who talked about Wales, Farrell hit back:
» This is the way of the world. We’re realistic, this is happening. I think between the two camps we know the truth. We know there will be a war of attrition over the weekend.
« We haven’t won Cardiff since 2013, which says a lot . We expect Wales to be 100 percent at their best. We’ve played them at their best before and haven’t got stuck so we’ve prepared accordingly.
« Look, it doesn’t play Matter what comes in Going on in the newspapers or the news during the days. The game will still be the same. Both teams will try to gain a foothold in promotion and in the game.
« Physically, standard situation … As soon as the whistle sounds, the game is exactly the same. We expect a tough old battle. “
Speaking after naming his team for Wales, Farrell insisted that giving James Lowe a start was not a calculated risk, even though the winger hadn’t played since last November.
« He’s a great player who is right for this game. Obviously when you pick a team first, you want the right balance for the team and I think you can agree with me that it’s a strong team, a strong 23 and one that is rarely there. » Start of a new competition.
“He was in great shape (in training). It was seamless that he stepped back into action like most of the other guys. In his position, Jordan (Larmour) hasn’t played many games either. Andrew Conway in the same boat. They are all fit and ready to update on where we need to be. «
Josh van der Flier nodded to Will Connors and Rhys Ruddock in the back row, and Farrell explained the reasons for including the Wicklow man.
» Josh visited us a couple of times this fall Bank, he came and made some great impact within the games. He has a fantastic run game, he hits the ball really well. He’s going to add something in that. His all round play is pretty strong and we think that’s the combo for this weekend . «
Farrell remained cautious about Caelan Doris’ chances to play France next week after the talented number 8 retired from the squad due to a concussion problem.
» We’ll wait and see. That The only thing that matters right now is that Caelan gets the advice he needs. We’ll see how the coming weeks go, « added Farrell.
Fit-again James Lowe received a surprising call back to the Irish team on Saturday to play against Wales.
Would anything sum up this strange Covid sports dystopia more than England raising the freshly cleared Six Nations trophy in a Dublin hotel after Ireland refused to play the Grand Slam earlier in the day in an empty Aviva stadium?
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