Irish Rugby | Farrell: We want to be our best and challenge ourselves
After facing them on several occasions throughout his time in the Rugby League and Rugby Union, Ireland’s head coach Andy Farrell expects New Zealand to pose a threat from all angles on Saturday.
After Japan’s 60-5 loss last weekend, Farrell’s men will start the second game of their Autumn Nations Series campaign in high spirits.
Nonetheless, the All Blacks recently defeated Wales and Italy with minimal fuss to complement their impressive title success in this year’s rugby championship.
Although they let slip their Rugby World Cup crown in Japan two years ago, Ian foster currently lead the world rugby rankings and continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
“There isn’t much weakness, is there?” The whole is very solid. I think their defense has certainly improved. They’re a lot more aggressive, a lot more active, âFarrell explained.
âYou see a lot of interceptions from them. They can play a tight game, it’s very difficult with forwards. You have to win the physical battle up front.
âThey can play through you and they can play around you. Their offensive kicking game is there for everyone. You cannot waste any time. If you lose a moment against the Kiwis, you get burned.
âWe’re getting good enough to make sure we’re as consistent as possible in this kind of game. At the end of the day, I guess we have to be at our best together.
âThis is exactly where we want to be. At our best and challenged after a decent performance last week. Can we save it again? “
In the past, Farrell has faced New Zealand on British and Irish Lions tours, summer tours and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
As Saturday’s sold-out clash at Aviva Stadium takes place in a different international window – like Ireland’s 2016 and 2018 victories against the Southern Hemisphere giants – it never takes a meeting with the All Blacks.
As it always has been, it’s a privilege. We are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to play New Zealand four times this season. At the end of 2021/22, we are going on a summer tour that will really test us.
âWe will learn a lot about ourselves this weekend and throughout the season. We will definitely learn a lot about the New Zealand tour because this will truly be the ultimate tour.
âIt’s a privilege to play against the best. As I said before, we should accept this. Work in this direction and keep pushing us.
Considering the quality of the Japanese game for his men, it’s no surprise that Farrell kept the changes to a minimum for Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks.
In the only modification of the starting XV, Iain Henderson replace Tadhg Beirne in the second row. From Farrell’s perspective, the inclusion of Captain Ulster is a case of “horses for the courts.”
âWe thought last week that Tadhg was better suited to the Japanese game and we think at the start of this game that Iain is better suited to start this game.
â100%, Tadhg played really well last week. He will come into any position and finish the game very well for us.
Despite Conor Murray getting playing time off the bench against Japan, Farrell also kept the faith with Jamison Gibson-Park in pivot position of scrum half. This is to reward the Leinster half-back for his impressive performance in the first game in November.
âWe thought Jamison played really well and deserved another tee shot. As I said last week, he is now more comfortable in his skin at this level.
âHis maturity and leadership have exploded at this type of level. I thought he had a great game last week, so he has the chance again. “
Gibson-Park is one of three New Zealand players in the Ireland squad, along with his provincial teammate James lowe and Connacht Bundee Aki being the others.
In the New Zealand ranks there are two former Irish assistant coaches in John plumtree and Greg Feek. Farrell worked closely with the latter for at Joe Schmidt reigns as head coach. He added:
I guess Feeky would be the last person to leave the camp and he had been there for a long time. He knows the players inside out. He probably knows me by heart too.
âThey have more information than we would have about them but, as we always say, the game takes its own course. This is who can adapt best during the day.