Farrell: British & Irish Lions can beat the All Blacks
INTERVIEW: Andy Farrell is hopeful that the new bonus points system of the Six Nation will benefit the British and Irish Lions when they head to New Zealand in June 2017.
Farrell suggests that the bonus points will encourage teams to be more attack minded which is beneficial when you go up against the likes of New Zealand.
The Six Nations confirmed last month that a new scoring system would be trialled for the next three years: four points for a win, with an extra point for scoring four tries or more. Losing teams will also claim a point if the margin of their defeat is seven points or fewer. The championship starts on February 4. A similar system has been in place in the southern hemisphere’s international competitions since the Tri Nations was launched in 1996.
Farrell estimates that any side hoping to defeat the All Blacks will have to score at least 28 points – and recent history suggests the target will probably have to be significantly higher even than that. In this year’s Rugby Championship, Steve Hansen’s side scored 262 points in six matches at an average of more than 43 points per game.
"We have been in front against them [New Zealand] with teams I have been involved with and they are masters at the comeback, staying calm and being clinical," he told the Telegraph in an interview.
"The way to score that bonus-point try is exactly like that – staying calm, being clinical, not being frantic, and going about your job as you should do rather than being too emotional. It will create excitement as it goes, you’ll know what you need to do along the way, but you still won’t get away from the fact that you need to win.
"It is good for us because we want to play a good attacking style of rugby in Ireland, we have shown that with the tries we have scored of late. I believe it is going to be good for us, but everyone knows that you have to score points against New Zealand,"
As the defence coach for the tour Farrell’s overriding priority however, as it was when Ireland, for whom he is defence coach, recorded a historic 40-29 victory last month and in his former role as England defence coach when Stuart Lancaster’s side claimed a 38-21 win, will be to stop New Zealand from scoring points.
"New Zealand play the game differently to Australia and I think both of the nations are the hardest to defend against. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that they score tries in abundance. But they are different. What New Zealand are renowned for – everyone knows they love to counter-attack, turn over ball and are pretty good at set-piece rugby – but their strength is the conversion rate from the chances that they have.
"It is very clinical. Limiting those situations in the first place has to be the key and that isn’t just defence, it is team cohesion, game understanding – set-piece, attacking and kicking game,"