Fall’s toughest exam may be over for Andy Farrell’s inexperienced squad, but that doesn’t mean the school is closed this weekend, even if tomorrow’s Test against Georgia is the easiest class on the schedule.
Surely the head coach would like to learn the lessons from the numerous mistakes that were made in Twickenham last Saturday in an 18-7 defeat by England, much more clearly than the record suggests.
A win to finish the Autumn Nations Cup group stage in a high and secure second place seems to lie within the skills of this Irish mix-and-match team itself.
Georgia, like Fiji in the opposite pool, has not yet bothered the scoreboard operators at this eight-nation tournament, but then again, the Pacific Islanders have canceled all three games due to Covid-19 cases in their camp.
The Eastern Europeans were beaten 40-0 by England and 18-0 by Wales in their previous two games and are on their own way to seriousness.
Ireland is moving on a very different path. Farrell hopes he can bring them back to the global game elite he helped them under Joe Schmidt from 2016 to 2018.
It took his predecessor three years to build the squad and a disappointing World Cup exit in 2015 to get there. After just 12 months and seven friendlies, it is far too early to judge the new man at the top.
Last Saturday’s Twickenham experience, coupled with the Six Nations defeat in Paris last month, is a painful reminder of the scale of the task, but if the clamor from the Irish team after review this week is taken seriously ought to be, the belief in the camp is that Test rugby’s greatest weapons gap doesn’t have to be a huge leap for this evolving group of players.
Farrell described the current phase of his rebuilding as « mounting pain » and that his squad paid « the price of inexperience » for the above setbacks.
Tomorrow’s outing at Aviva Stadium is another opportunity to turn those chastening experiences into positive ones and to build Farrell’s depth on his roster.
He believes that last week’s loss to England will be invaluable if his players can learn from the discomfort they feel under pressure from the six-nation champions.
At the top of his list for this weekend is coercion of clarity as he decides what to do next in a given situation.
« I think one of the most important things we talk about and think about is that everyone outside of the circle in big games is always talking about physicality and sometimes physicality can take over your mindset and you are not calm enough to be I can see what the game is throwing at you, ”Farrell said.
« One hundred percent, I thought we were physical, I thought we were actually brave sometimes, but sometimes I thought that would get in the way of our calm to see the opportunities and to be able to seize those opportunities.
“That’s what rugby is all about at the highest level. We’re talking about the top two percentages in world rugby. To go to Twickenham and deliver you have to have an all court game and that is being able to be calm and communicate properly and therefore play at the right pace that you can run at.
« Because the reality is that I am speaking in those top two percent of the game – if you have four chances, you must surely hit three of them, right? » Seventy-five percent you should get at this level, and that’s what we need to get to. ”
This is a game Farrell will want even higher levels of execution in spite of the fact that he respected a Georgian team with a lot of experience overseas, particularly in the French Top14 and Pro D2.
When asked what he thinks of a team currently being coached by former French hooker Sebastien Bruno and Ulstermen Neil Doak and David Humphreys, the Irish boss said, « I suppose everything everyone thinks that Georgia will bring.
They love a mouth and a crush and a breakdown and are very combative in any collision work so we 100% expect that.
“We also know with the central defenders that they can play a varied game. We have seen in the last few games in bad weather that even the ambition they showed in those games was nice. So we know that they are playing with the ball and want to attack us.
« We expect something different from what we saw in the last games against England and Wales. « . ”
Get the latest sports news and the best opinion from our amazing team of sports writers delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Latest news from the world of sports, along with our best opinions
outstanding team of sports writers
Wales National Rugby Team, England National Rugby Union Team, England, Eddie Jones, George Ford
World News – UK – Georgia provides learning opportunities for Ireland to ease growing pain
Donnez votre avis et abonnez-vous pour plus d’infos
Vidéo du jour: