No magic formula to beating All Blacks
NOVEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Andy Farrell may have got the better of world champions New Zealand three times, but Ireland’s defence coach says he does not have a magic formula on how to beat them.
The 43-year-old Englishman finished on the winning side as a member of the coaching staff firstly with England in 2012, Ireland’s historic win in Chicago in 2016 and with the British & Irish Lions last year.
On Saturday he pits his wits against the All Blacks again in a clash between the top two teams in the world.
“There is no secret,” Farrell, who played for Great Britain in Rugby League before switching codes and represented England, told a press conference on Tuesday.
“I’ve lost against them a lot more than I’ve won as well.
“They’re a good side, aren’t they, they’re going to have their time in the sun.
“What they’re masters at is making sure when things go wrong for them, which they do because they’re a team like anyone else, their confidence levels, their ability to stick to the plan and stay on point is better than anyone.”
Farrell says his boys have to use that as an example of how to play when your backs are against the wall.
“We have to take our learnings from that and make sure when things go against us or the run of play goes against it, we get back on point as soon as we possibly can on both sides of the ball.”
Farrell was snapped up by Ireland when Eddie Jones told him he was not wanted after the Australian replaced head coach Stuart Lancaster following England’s disastrous first round exit in the 2015 World Cup.
He has received much praise for how the defence performed in Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign earlier this year.
He intimated veteran fullback Rob Kearney may well return to the starting XV this Saturday after a shoulder injury kept him on the sidelines for last weekend’s 28-17 win over Argentina.
The tough as teak 32-year-old is seen as being excellent under the high balls the All Blacks are likely to pepper the Irish defence with and his experience may count in his favour rather than the sparkling young talent Jordan Larmour, who deputised against the Pumas.
“Their [the All Blacks] ability to get in the air and win the space for the ball is right up there, so, Rob, I think we all know, he’s outstanding in that area,” said Farrell.
“He’s been talking to the rest of the lads and giving his tips on how to do that as well, so it’s a collective.”
Farrell, who says regardless of whether Ireland win the All Blacks remain the best team in the world as they have set the standard for so many years, has been mentioned along with Lancaster, who has also rebuilt his reputation in Ireland with Irish province Leinster, as potential replacements for head coach Joe Schmidt should he decide not to stay on after next year’s World Cup.
However, Farrell was having none of that talk.
“Thank you very much!” he said.
“Look, that type of thing, you don’t<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/_x2CRfw9H0Y” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe> expect me to answer that today in the week that we’ve got.
“What I would say on that is that I have a fantastic job, I really enjoy myself working under Joe, learning.
“Joe will make his decision in time [meant to be by end of November], I’ll keep enjoying myself and hopefully keep getting better.”
Farrell may dismiss his record against the All Blacks but the Irish win in Chicago still rankles as the masterful Kiwi playmaker Beauden Barrett revealed.
“When you do lose in an All Black jersey it’s never nice,” he said.
“We can draw from those experiences, just a small reminder of how we felt in that changing room – to always respect Ireland.
“Also, know they’re a smart team, they’ll throw a few things at us we’ve never seen before.”