Berliner Boersenzeitung - Irish fighting spirit can keep them in Six Nations title race: Farrell

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Irish fighting spirit can keep them in Six Nations title race: Farrell
Irish fighting spirit can keep them in Six Nations title race: Farrell

Irish fighting spirit can keep them in Six Nations title race: Farrell

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says that if his side shows the same 'fight and character' they displayed in the 30-24 loss to France they will be 'in the mix' for the Six Nations title come the final day of the tournament on March 19.

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The Irish had looked out for the count when they went 22-7 down early in the second-half but two quickfire converted tries put them back in the match.

Although they fell just short -- ending their nine-match Test winning run -- Farrell took heart from the performance.

"History shows you that you've got to be ready in the Six Nations," he told Irish media after Saturday's loss.

"You've got to make sure that your own house is in order in regards to your next game and you look at the competition with Wales winning today against Scotland, England losing their first game (they went on to beat Italy 33-0 on Sunday) so, yes, France are in pole position.

"They have had two home games but at the same time we move into our next game and try our best to be at our best and take each game from there.

"I'm sure that if we continue to show the fight and character that we have done here, which was an unbelievable Test match, I'm sure we'll be in the mix towards the end of it."

Farrell -- whose side host pointless Italy on February 27 -- said the match on Saturday in front of a hostile crowd would help the squad build towards the 2023 World Cup, which France are hosting.

"It certainly is an important step for the group because we will show them during the week the reason why they are such a courageous side," said the 46-year-old Englishman.

"Because we have seen many a team that come here to Paris and fall over completely, especially when faced with a scoreline like 22-7.

"That certainly was never going to be the case with this lot, they backed themselves to get into the game and, like I said, to be in with a chance of winning the game shows a lot."

- 'A hell of a Test match' -

The Irish discipline which had held so well in the opening 29-7 victory over Wales was absent as they conceded seven penalties in the first-half.

In the second-half they were penalised just three times.

"We will be honest enough to work out the reasons why we got to that stage in the first place," said Farrell.

"There is obviously plenty of learnings, both with a few things not going for us during the week and a few things not going for us in the game as far as injuries and turnovers and set-backs etcetera.

"It never fazed the group and that's a brilliant way to take this forward."

The French have finished runners-up twice since Fabien Galthie took over as head coach following the 2019 World Cup but they are have not won a Six Nations title since 2010.

Farrell praised the French for a 'deserved victory', but baulked when asked how good it was to see contending again.

"How good is it to see them back as a force after we just lost in Paris is a difficult one for me to answer. I suppose you'd be better asking French people that question," said Farrell.

"Listen they are a good side, there were two good teams going at it tonight and I've no doubt it was a hell of a Test match for people to watch for many different reasons and we played our part in that.

"France will continue to improve as will we.”

(K.Lüdke--BBZ)