fired up We can still win Six Nations, insists Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, despite French setback
IRELAND head coach Andy Farrell believes his side are still in with a real chance of winning the Six Nations title, despite their disappointing 30-24 defeat in Paris on Saturday.
Although he acknowledged that France are now in pole position to be crowned champions, Farrell is not ready to give up on Ireland’s hopes of lifting the trophy in Dublin next month.
Ireland were left to count the cost of the loss, as a shoulder injury meant Rónan Kelleher left the Stade de France in a sling, while Peter O’Mahony did not return after undergoing a head injury assessment (HIA).
With Italy coming to the Aviva Stadium in a fortnight, Ireland will then travel to Twickenham before rounding off their tournament at home to Scotland on the final day. Meanwhile, France face trips to Scotland and Wales, before hosting England on ‘Super Saturday’.
Farrell is targeting three wins in order to give Ireland a fighting chance of taking advantage of any potential French slip-ups.
“History shows you that you’ve got to be ready in the Six Nations,” Farrell said. “You’ve got to make sure that your own house is in order in regards to your next game. France are in pole position, they’ve had two home games and they got a win today.
“I’m sure that if we continue to show the fight and character that we have done here in what was an unbelievable Test match, I’m sure we’ll certainly be in the mix towards the end of it.”
Kelleher and O’Mahony are Ireland’s main injury concerns following a bruising encounter in Paris.
With no game this coming weekend, the Ireland squad will be given a few days off to recover, before reconvening for a mini training camp later in the week to begin preparations for Italy in Dublin on Sunday week.
France inflicted plenty of damage in the physicality stakes, particularly in a dominant first-half display, but Ireland rallied to mount a comeback that fell short at a raucous Stade de France.
Kelleher was forced off with a shoulder injury after just 25 minutes, with the Ireland hooker leaving the stadium in a sling. The 24-year-old was replaced by Dan Sheehan, who made a major impact on the biggest test of his career.
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