Andy Farrell cools talk of next Grand Slam despite ‘feelgood factor’


Andy Farrell believes talk of leading Ireland to successive Grand Slam titles is premature as he attempts to build on the “feelgood factor” created by a resounding Guinness Six Nations victory over France.

Reigning champions Ireland made a statement of intent in Friday evening’s curtain-raiser in Marseille with a stunning 38-17 bonus-point success over the pre-tournament favourites.

The fixture has proved to be a championship decider in each of the past two years, with the Irish dethroning Les Bleus 12 months ago thanks to a 32-19 Dublin win, which avenged a 30-24 loss in Paris in 2022.

Head coach Farrell acknowledges victory at Stade Velodrome was “pretty special” but is focused on conducting a thorough review of the contest and striving for improvement rather than contemplating silverware.

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“We want to be in it (title contention) at the last week but internally we’re hungry to be as good as we possibly can be,” he said.

“In reality it’s one win, it’s one win out of one and we’ve got to be on to the next one.

“It (the championship) is not won or lost but it’s about building on this.

“We tend to be pretty harsh on our performances when we’ve won because we’re able to do that and make some good points so hopefully we’re able to get better because of that.

“But the feelgood factor of a victory like that… it’s a special victory, it definitely is and it’s there to be celebrated, that’s for sure.”

Ireland host Italy on Sunday before welcoming Wales to the the Aviva Stadium on February 24, ahead of March appointments with England and Scotland.

Aside from a “few bangs and bruises”, Ireland emerged from their opening fixture unscathed, while centre Garry Ringrose will be assessed after sitting out due to a shoulder issue.

Farrell has rotated his squad against the Azzurri in previous years and will weigh up his options for the round-two clash.

“Whatever’s right for the team,” he said of selection for next weekend.

“There’s always the balance about opportunity but also doing what’s right for the team and the cohesion of the team going forward.

“It’s a bit of an awkward one, isn’t it? We’ve only had one game together so we’ll how we shape up on Monday.”





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