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24th Feb 2024

Andy Farrell responds to Warren Gatland claim that final scoreline was not fair

Patrick McCarry

The Ireland head coach also revealed Calvin Nash had a blip in the build-up to the match.

Andy Farrell cleared up the situation over Josh van der Flier after the 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year did not return to the field after going for a Head Injury Assessment.

The openside took a hefty blow and was identified for a concussion check, early in the second half. Following the game, which Ireland won 31-7, Farrell sought to clarify the injuries and knocks picked up during the game.

“Just Bumps and bruises but Josh van der Flier passed his HIA. He was just a substitution, after that.”

Farrell also revealed that Calvin Nash missed training on Wednesday and had to grind out his performance today after a less than smooth build-up to the game. Nash last 66 minutes and acquitted himself well, before Stuart McCloskey replaced him with 15 minutes to play. The Ulster centre had some fun on the right wing, bouncing a couple of would-be tacklers.

“We were tenacious, to be able to get back to  31-7 win with a bonus point… we stuck at it and broke them down in the end,” Farrell reflected.

“The scoreline at the end, I felt, probably didn’t reflect the effort we put in,” Wales boss Warren Gatland commented, during his time at the stump. “We didn’t get any sort of foot-hold in the first half. A couple of tough calls went against us… I can’t fault the effort and work-rate of the boys.”

“The boys played against one of the best teams in the world,” added Gatland as he stressed this was a good learning process for his young side. “Eight or nine of their team are in their 30s.”

Later informed of those Gatland scoreline comments, the Ireland coach remarked:

“Well, we should have been 40 or 44-7 – we had a couple of tries knocked off there!”

Josh van der Flier

Warren Gatland on Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes

Following Ireland’s win, captain Peter O’Mahony was pleased to have made in three from three.

“Similar to Faz,” he said, “we know we can certainly have a bit more intent, and accuracy… we’ve been the other side of that card – I certainly have been with Ireland – the underdog. It’s a good place to be. Can have a crack off sides.

Farrell raised the “huge” contribution of the Irish bench for helping to close out the game, and finish on the front foot.

Back to Warren Gatland and he was adamant that this set of Welsh players will, one day, be a real force in world rugby. Asked if Ireland had the tools to go back-to-back Grand Slams, the Wales coach said:

“Yeah, I think they are definitely capable of doing it. They’ve got the experience, exposure and are a team that can get themselves on the front foot. They’ll be a hard side to knock over.”

The final word in the press conference room went to a Welshman, beaten but unbowed and determined this will be just a bump in a road leading to better and brighter days.

“That’s where I want to get to, as a player,” said Wales’ 21-year-old captain Dafydd Jenkins, fully respectful of the Irish side that had just handed out the lesson.


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