- Backs coach wary of Ireland's sparkling attacking talent
- "Rugby is all about creating memories and there is no doubt I have achieved that" – Farrell
Despite acknowledging the danger that Ireland’s “exceptional” attack will pose, England backs coach Andy Farrell believes his side are well set to finish their RBS 6 Nations campaign on a high this afternoon.
Speaking yesterday morning, the 36 year-old suggested that the hosts were quietly confident of building on their last appearance at Twickenham, which saw an agonising 19-12 defeat to Warren Gatland’s Wales.
“We are pretty relaxed,” said the former rugby league legend. “The captain’s run was great and the boys are really looking forward to this one.
“Obviously this is the last game of the tournament and after the way that the crowd was during the Wales match, we are hoping for a similar atmosphere. We’d like a little bit more luck as far as the result is concerned, though.”
Continuing to highlight the specific qualities that Declan Kidney’s men will bring into this afternoon’s showdown, Farrell singled out the Irish backline for special praise.
“They have some world class players that are very experienced and have been playing in big games on the international scene for quite some time,” he explained.
“Their combinations have been together for a while time and will pose a lot of threats with ball in hand. They always have a great deal of energy in attack but have a good kicking game on the back of that.”
“Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe are exceptional in the air and have some strong attacking kicking options – Kearney puts up bombs in midfield and chases his own kicks very well.
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Ireland come into this Saint Patrick Day’s clash with an ominous record on these shores, having won three of their last four matches at HQ. Perhaps even more dauntingly, the last RBS 6 Nations encounter between the sides 12 months ago saw England’s Grand Slam hopes dashed by a 24-8 defeat in Dublin.
However, Farrell seemed adamant that history would have no bearing on proceedings this time round:
“It’s a completely different game – these players are a new bunch and won’t take too much notice of the fact that the Irish have won a lot of games against the English lately.
“They will relish the challenge like they have done throughout this Six Nations. The present form of both sides is good and both sides will want to finish the tournament on a great note, especially us because we are at home.”
Finally, looking ahead to his final assignment of as part of Stuart Lancaster’s interim coaching team, Farrell reflected on the lessons he has learnt over what he called a “fantastic” two months.
“It has been completely different because we have got a new side together,” he added. “Getting to know the lads that I didn’t know before has been fantastic because rugby is all about creating memories.
“I wanted to come out of this Six Nations period with things I would remember for the rest of my life. There is no doubt that I have achieved that.”