Andy Farrell glad to see Ireland shake off rust and come through

‘It was never going to be perfect and I think we saw certainly in the first half’

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was pleased just to get the win against Japan on Saturday. Photo: Inpho

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was pleased just to get the win against Japan on Saturday. Photo: Inpho

 

Hardly ample revenge for Shizuoka but then again it was never going to be. This was a case of job done, with Andy Farrell exclaiming his delight after Ireland’s hard-earned 39-31 win over the ever-ambitious and ever-dangerous Japan.

When it was put to the Irish head coach that the performance had been a bit of a mixed bag, he responded: “No mixed bag for me. I’m delighted with the win. It was always going to be a tough old challenge for our group against what I believe to be a top class international aside. So any type of ‘W’ was always going to be a big win for us.”

Farrell also said he learned quite a lot from Ireland’s first outing since March as a much-changed side made it four wins in-a-row.

“It was never going to be perfect and I think we saw certainly in the first half, they was Test match fit and up to speed compared to us, probably through the preparation and the hit-out against the Sunwolves and the game against the Lions, and the opportunities that they created against them would have given them confidence going into the game.

“I thought we was a bit rusty, certainly in the first half, and we compounded it with making errors on errors. It made the game difficult for us. It looked like they had legs more than we did.

“But having said that, in the second half, we imposed ourselves, we controlled the game with our set-piece and our field position and we continued to go after Japan in that second half, which was the most pleasing thing.

“The hardest thing for any team that’s new and coming together, is dealing with negativity within your own game, especially against a side like Japan that is so dangerous and willing to counter attack. But we managed to stay calm, to stay in control, to stay next task focused and I think that got us through in the end.”

The Irish head coach confirmed that Chris Farrell will undergo the return to play protocols after failing a HIA while Jordan Larmour sustained a groin strain which prevented from sprinting.

Asked about the performances of Jamison Gibson-Park and Joey Carbery, who was playing his first Test since the World Cup quarter-final defeat by the All Blacks, Farrell said: “I thought they was great.

“I thought they controlled the last 20 minutes, but we just had to sort out our exits a little better. Our middle third management was great and that was one of the reasons why we kept on going after them in the second half and the last 20 minutes so effectively and they were a major part of that.”

He was also effusive about the display of man-of-the-match Josh van der Flier.

“I thought he was outstanding. His carrying is to the forefront of his top performances playing for Leinster, and he certainly carried strongly again today. Some of the tackles that he was putting in and energy he had, he just kept going and going and going, and I thought he was outstanding today.

“Internally we always back our own players. We thought he was unlucky not to be involved with the Lions but he knows there is the window here to perform against a top class side in Japan and he always wanted to put on his best showing out there.”

Japan’s attacking performances in the last two weeks have re-enforced their status as the great entertainers in world rugby.

“I think their brand of rugby is consistent with what they was playing in the World Cup. Obviously they’ve not played many games since then but certainly over the last three games that we’ve seen them play their game has come on even more so.

“They have a great dynamic, they have got some very dynamic, powerful and skilful athletes across the board. I thought in the first half they were more up to speed in the contact area than we were as far as international football is concerned.

“In reality they have not played that many games since the World Cup and I don’t think 10th place in the world rankings is a true reflection of where they’re at.”

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