Ireland motivated by previous failures in Triple Crown bid, admits Andy Farrell


Ireland head coach Andy Farrell believes tales of past failures sharpen minds as his players attempt to create their own piece of history.

The Irish have not lifted a silver on home soil since beating Scotland in 2004 to lift the Triple Crown – five years before any of the current squads were cut.

Farrell’s men have a chance to end the 18-year wait by emulating that performance on Saturday and could still finish as Guinness Six Nations champions.

But despite a dismal recent record in Dublin, the Scots are in form to spoil the party after beating an Irish team featuring Johnny Sexton, Cian Healy and current coaches Paul O’Connell and Simon Easterby in a 2010 23-20 win Triple Crown at Croke Park.

“There’s always an awareness of stories, people are always talking about things in corridors,” Farrell said.

“Did we highlight it as a group? Of course it’s a different team, we want to concentrate on ourselves.

“The stories are there. I’m sure these kinds of stories focus the mind a bit more.”

A seventh consecutive win against Scotland would put Ireland at the top of the Championship standings, at least temporarily.

They would then be dependent on England angering Grand Slam-seeking France in Paris for the ultimate prize.

Farrell insists title talks won’t distract his side.

“Our lads will not think for a minute what is going on in Paris because there is too much respect for Scotland,” he said.

“Scotland are a tough team to beat so we need to make sure we have something for our own fans to cheer about this St Patrick’s weekend.

“We expect a good performance that will help the spectators get into the game. We want the audience to be happy with what they see from their team. We want to achieve.”

Ireland kept their league dreams alive by beating 14-man England in Twickenham last weekend.

Eddie Jones’ hosts showed a spirited reaction to Charlie Ewels’ early red card, while Ireland’s performance was at times undermined by repeated scrum fights.

Striker Jack Conan, who said referee Mathieu Raynal admitted making some wrong decisions, insists the Irish pack is determined to right some mistakes.

“There were a lot of talking points and lessons learned from the weekend,” said Conan, who was recalled as part of three changes after a cameo in London.

“The referee came back and said a couple of decisions were made against us when they shouldn’t have been, but this is rugby and things like that happen. It’s always a good learning curve and we get better at it.

“I know the guys in the front row are proud of their parts in the scrum so they were pretty discouraged about that.

“But it’s only going to make us better this weekend and I think they’re looking forward to the challenge and to correcting Twickenham’s few mistakes and ending on a high.” Ireland motivated by previous failures in Triple Crown bid, admits Andy Farrell

Andrew Schnitker

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