Garry Ringrose and James Ryan back up to full speed at Ireland training
Decision on participation of Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson to be made on Thursday
Tadhg Furlong during Ireland training at Carton House ahead of the Six Nations meeting with Wales. Photo: Dan Sheridan /Inpho
Tadhg Furlong and Iain Henderson have been making substantial progress from their respective injuries but took a graduated rather than full part, switching in and out, during the Ireland training session at Carton House on Tuesday morning.
A decision on their participation in Saturday’s Six Nations match against Wales at the Aviva stadium will be taken following Thursday morning’s training session.
Ireland’s defence coach Andy Farrell explained: “All good at training. There is a bit of a bite in the air. The lads came back in on Sunday and you can see a telling difference in the manner in which they are hungry to prepare. We trained really well Monday and Tuesday and all is pushing in the right direction.
“Well he [Furlong] is hitting his markers and is training well. He’s not been in full training. He has been doing bit-part stuff and we will make a decision on [his selection on] Wednesday night/Thursday.
“James Ryan has been training with us for the last few days so he’s fully fit. Iain Henderson, a bit like Tadhg is hitting his markers and pushing in the right direction and we will assess how he pulls up after two hard days of work at training.
“There is not a risk, we wouldn’t take risks. We back the full squad that we have got; we have quality players across the board, so we will make the right decision come Wednesday/Thursday.”
On Ringrose’s reintegration Farrell said: “Garry has come back into the camp today and is looking great. I actually said to him have you put a bit of weight on? He’s looking in great nick and it is good to have him back. He cut us opening in training a few times like he normally does. He’s short of game time obviously but he is a class player and he slotted straight back in today.”
Farrell explained that he would have no qualms about Munster centre Chris Farrell’s capacity to step into the vacancy left by the injured Robbie Henshaw, a reprise of what happened for the game against Argentina last November.
“Well, if you look at his performances in November he wouldn’t have been too pleased with how his debut went against Fiji. He thought he could have done better by his own admission, he got his chance the week after against Argentina and we saw the game he put on the field that day.
“He’s come back into the camp at the start of the Six Nations and he’s progressed from there. He is ready.”
One aspect of Ireland’s performances so far in the Six Nations to which Farrell took a less benign view was the concession of three tries at the tail end of the victory over Italy. “I was concerned after the game because I was fuming.
“Look, all you can be is honest. The plan going into the Italy game was that we needed to go after Italy with the ball and show good intent without the ball; show some good intent in our line-speed, our hunger and our physicality in defence.
“At 40-0, I thought we were doing that pretty well. For example, we want to score tries from the mistakes that we force through our defensive pressure and within that first three-quarters of the game, four of the eight tries came from the pressure that we forced on them and that was pretty pleasing.
“But the last quarter wasn’t acceptable, because average is not acceptable in this environment. We need to be more ruthless than that and learn to play even when the scoreboard is in our favour, to be ruthless.
“The players know that, there are some young lads who haven’t got vast amounts of experience and might have been getting carried away with themselves a little bit, but to knock off, you can talk about any technicality you want, but to have a lack of intent in that last quarter was not acceptable.”
He provided feedback to every individual, the players aware of where he stood on the defensive lapses individually and collectively. So does he expect it to be better on Saturday? 100 per cent.