Farrell issues Six Nations warning to England despite Irish loss

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Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Andy Farrell says Ireland will be capable of beating England when they play them in the Six Nations next March despite suffering a second bruising defeat to them this year on Saturday.

England recorded an 18-7 victory in their Autumn Nations Cup clash at an empty Twickenham, due to the coronavirus protocols, backing up their 24-12 win in the Six Nations in March.

But head coach Farrell said there was enough to take out of the match, notably long periods of Irish pressure in the second-half blunted only by a superb English defence, to ensure England will have a tough time when they come to Dublin for the final game of the 2021 Six Nations.

“Yes, of course,” said Farrell when asked if his team could beat the English next time.

“Speak to those lads in the changing room, they are gutted to have lost but they showed tremendous spirit.

“We just have to show them where the belief needs to be coming from.”

Ireland captain James Ryan had a tough time in the line-out until the experienced Iain Henderson came on in the second-half.

The 24-year-old Leinster lock, who skippered the side in the absence of the injured Johnny Sexton, said he was proud of the spirit the side had shown after conceding two first-half tries.

“I think we landed a couple of shots on them today,” he said.

“It was a much better performance than the match here a few months ago.

“Next time we will look to fire even more shots.

“We showed good character today.”

– ‘Invaluable experience’ –

Ryan was one of those that Farrell singled out for praise alongside No 8 Caelan Doris and centre Chris Farrell (no relation).

“Look, if you are taking the ball into a brick wall like the English defence you have to be able to take the medicine,” said Farrell.

“Caelan Doris and James (Ryan) never let up.

“Some players became proper international players I thought and some guys will look back and be disappointed but will be better for it as well.”

Ryan said his team’s main points of weakness were a lack of the killer touch when they needed it and handing back possession at line-outs, especially in the first-half.

“The positive thing is we put real pressure on them,” he said.

“We created opportunities and were not clinical enough, we just did not nail those moments.”

Farrell, who is likely to make sweeping changes for the final pool game against Georgia next weekend, argued that defeats could teach you as much as victories.

“Some of that stuff out there is priceless for the journey we are on,” he said.

“As teams in terms of experience we are on completely different sides of the spectrum.

“This has been an invaluable experience in dealing with pressure.”

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