Farrell happy with Ireland’s Six Nations prep; LIV Golf animosity exactly what golf needs

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Andy Farrell wants Ireland players to “embrace” playing under the roof in Cardiff for their Six Nations clash against Wales on Saturday, writes Gerry Thornley. Farrell believes their preparation over the past week in Portugal before their flight to Cardiff on Thursday afternoon has been excellent. Anticipating “a big physical battle”, Farrell said: “How we mentally handle the occasions is going to be key.” Meanwhile, Mack Hansen still going with the flow of his whirlwind Ireland career. The laid-back Australian-born winger has come a long way in just a year in a green jersey. “If Mack Hansen was any more laid-back he’d be prostrate, although as a precursor to meeting the media he readily agreed to pose while toing and froing on a children’s rocking chair in a kids’ playground on The Campus in Quinta do Lago,” writes Thornley.

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France are favourites along with Ireland for the Six Nations and Fabien Galthié will be hoping that his depth-building project bears fruit in this Six Nations. Few teams come into the competition with as many injuries as France. Jonathan Danty and Cameron Woki, two of last year’s regular starters, are out, while frequent bench options Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros and Maxime Lucu (Antoine Dupont’s usual backup) are also missing. Elsewhere, in the under-20 Six Nations Championship, Gus McCarthy and champions Ireland are looking for a positive start to the new campaign. He captained Blackrock to a Leinster Schools Senior Cup win last March and the hooker will be hoping he enjoys further success.

In today’s subscriber only column, Johnny Watterson writes golf has never been more interesting, LIV is not just the old guard’s greatest threat but also its biggest motivator. “Depending on how the courts see it in a few days, it has shown it might be of value to the PGA and DP World tours as a catalyst to stoke fires and generate competitive edge. Old firm derby-style.” Also in golf, Philip Reid writes from Ras Al Khaimah that Tom McKibbin is ignoring comparisons to Rory McIlroy in his quest to be his own player. “I’m looking forward to [this year], it should be good, seeing where my game can take me. It feels pretty good at the minute,” he said.


Finally, in GAA, the director general sees no way back to September All-Irelands after current trial. Tom Ryan also tells those who still need convincing about misbehaviour towards referees: “We don’t really want you at matches”. He says “traditions are important but perhaps we have an opportunity to forge new traditions now” regarding new dates on the calendar.