Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Six Nations: Andy Farrell says Ireland’s Twickenham defeat to England will prove to be ‘best thing for us’

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Victorious Six Nations head coach Andy Farrell claims Ireland’s defeat to England will be the “best thing for the group”, adding chats over captain Peter O’Mahony’s future will take place next week.

Farrell’s Ireland secured back-to-back Six Nations titles for just the third time on Saturday, beating a stubborn Scotland 17-13 in Dublin to lift the trophy.

Dreams of a historic successive Six Nations Grand Slam were dashed last week, as Marcus Smith secured England a last-gasp victory over Ireland at Twickenham with the final kick of the game.

Ireland picked themselves up to secure a championship, and Farrell claims that defeat will work out hugely positively.

“I sure hope so [there’s better to come]. I think it was a fantastic campaign for this group. We all know things change year-on-year,” Farrell told media.

“I reckon the loss last week [vs England at Twickenham] will be the best thing for us as a group. Because some of these lads subconsciously, not through their own doing, get used to winning.

“For some of the lads who haven’t been used to losing at all, then sometimes I suppose they’re getting to points where they are turning up to games thinking: ‘We’re doing it..’

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Ireland celebrate winning back-to-back Six Nations championships in Dublin

“You’re never doing it in the Six Nations, because things change weekend to weekend, and that Test match last weekend in Twickenham was a proper Test match. And so it should be.

“We’ll learn the lessons from that and it will be powerful for us going forward, like this will be tonight [beating Scotland to win title].

“Scotland are a great side. I thought they were tenacious, I thought they were tough.

“I actually thought we played bloody well. We came out of the blocks in the second half, that was magnificent – the power, the pace we put into the game.

“It was tough. And that’s how it should be.”

Reports on Saturday linked captain O’Mahony with retirement at the end of the season, with both the 34-year-old and Farrell confirming conversations will be had this week.

“I need to have a think about it. I’m still loving it, this part of it is the best feeling in the world and it’s the part you chase but I have to have a proper chat (with my family) and be realistic,” O’Mahony said.

“If it was my last one, it wasn’t a bad one to go out on.

peter O'Mahony
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Ireland skipper O’Mahony may yet retire at the end of the season

“It means the world to me. I’ve said it lots of times before and to the players that it’s a special thing to be picked for your country and you’ve got to treat it with the utmost respect.”

Farrell said O’Mahony would do what was right for him and that he had led the team brilliantly against Scotland in his best performance of the campaign.

“I’ve been a big fan of Pete’s for all his career. We’ve a close enough relationship to be honest with one another when talking about his career when he’s getting towards the end,” Farrell said.

“We’re so proud of him…we’ll chew the fat over the next few days.”

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