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29th Nov 2020

‘Not good enough’ – Andy Farrell doesn’t spare players after Georgia grind

Patrick McCarry

Andy Farrell

Ireland drew the second half with Georgia 3-3.

There was no talk from Andy Farrell of boys becoming men after Ireland struggled to see off the world number 12 at the Aviva Stadium.

After losing two of their last three Test matches, Ireland did just about enough in the first half to defeat Los Lelos and 23-10 and tee up a 3rd and 4th place Autumn Nations Cup playoff against Scotland. The only blessing, especially after the turgid fare Ireland served up in the second half, was that no paying fans were in attendance.

First half tries from Billy Burns and Hugo Keenan were ultimately the winning of the match but such was the drop-off in performance levels after the break that most players involved will be fearful of retaining their places for the Scotland clash.

One only had to witness the dropped heads and slumped shoulders, as the final whistle sounded, to realise what the Irish players thought of their own performance. All that could be heard was the shouts and claps from the Georgian bench. They had lost their third straight game of the competition but have pushed Wales and Ireland close in the space of seven days.

Following the game, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was much less effusive than he was after last weekend’s loss to England.

“Not good enough, not good enough,” he admitted. “Certainly in that second 40, it wasn’t the standard we expect our ourselves, especially playing at home after the first 40 that I thought was decent enough, at times.”

Farrell, who has won five and lost three since taking over from Joe Schmidt, took issue with referee Mathieu Raynal not awarding his side two additional tries – to Stuart McCloskey and James Ryan – in the first half.

“Still obviously things to fix at half-time but two tries [disallowed], one from a forward pass, and I don’t know the rules any more regarding that. We have a touch-judge that telling us it’s a try and then a referee that says it’s not a try. James Ryan is over the line just before half-time, he’s got the ball down, so he says.

“So there’s still things to fix. I thought our game flowed a little bit in the first half and we come out in the second half and I just thought we didn’t any the courage of our own conviction. Georgia thoroughly deserved the right to slow our game down by being total menaces at the breakdown and fair play to them for that but that’s not good enough from us.”

Asked what went wrong in the second half, Farrell once again spoke about his side lacking the courage of their convictions. In truth, they suffered after losing Billy Burns at outhalf, early in the second half, but we have once again seen Ireland flounder after the half-time break.

“If you are trying to get the ball to the wide channels, let’s do it properly,” said Farrell.

“Let’s make sure that there’s proper intent in our play to get in there. There certainly was opportunities for us to get into space out wide and we just tucked and turned ourselves back inside on a number of occasions and got turned over at the breakdown.”

“I’ve been in many half-time speeches and changing rooms where all the right things are being said and the right feel of what’s happening in the game,” Farrell added. “The lads were in good spirits, nice and healthy going out for what we hoped would be a dominant second half.

“You’ve got to make it happen. You’ve got to make it happen and it’s not necessarily what’s being said and how it feels at half time, it’s the moments that happen during the match that can give the opposition the belief that they can come back into the game or not.”

Asked about injuries, Farrell said Rob Herring (rib), Billy Burns (groin), Conor Murray (dead leg), Keith Earls (back) and Will Connors (HIA) are top of the walking wounded list.



Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O’Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu and more.


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