Andy Farrell warns of World Cup importance to 'distracted' players

Andy Farrell warns of World Cup importance to 'distracted' players

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has admitted that he wasn't happy with the conduct of some of the Ireland players when they traveled to Biarritz and Bayonne for the final warm-up game against Samoa two weeks ago.

Ireland starts their Rugby World Cup campaign against Romania on Saturday, and for many players in the Ireland squad, it will be their first taste of a World Cup. Eighteen players included in Farrell's final squad selection have never played at a tournament like this.

The likes of Joe McCarthy is the youngest members of the squad and will obviously come into the tournament with youthful exuberance and hunger.

Farrell has claimed that this is a good thing because of the desire to learn, but also highlighted the importance of what the World Cup as an event means to people back home and abroad.

"It’s an advantage because of the youthfulness, and the quality of those players is top drawer," said Farrell.

"But they also need to understand what it is that they’re coming into."

The Ireland coach also claimed that some Ireland players in their training camp in Biarritz succumbed to 'distractions,' while others did not. This has prompted Farrell to warn his players that there might not be more World Cups for some of the distracted players.

"I said to you in the Samoa week going to Biarritz, the reason we went there is that there’s a lot of distraction that goes on, certainly when you’re in a hotel that’s on the beach," Farrell remarked.

"Some people handled that brilliantly, some people didn’t.

"Learning from those experiences is pretty important because you don’t get second chances after this in World Cups.

"You have to wait four more years – if you’re lucky enough. Understanding what it’s all about and getting down to business is where we’re at at this stage."

Johnny Sexton will captain the side against Romania this coming Saturday. There is fear that the Leinster star will be ring-rusty coming into the tie, having not played competitive rugby in 25 weeks. But according to Sexton, he admits he's very happy heading into the World Cup opener.

“I haven’t changed much,” said Sexton. “In the early stages, I had to be very careful just on the basis of the surgeon’s advice, just making sure I built into it, but over the last month or so, I’ve been able to practice a good bit and try to keep doing a little and often, really.

“Trying to do a bit every day – we’ve a day off today, so just try and get down and do 20 minutes, just a little bit.

“So yeah, very happy with where I’m at going into a game. It’s a little bit different, but hopefully, I can lean back on previous experiences.”

The game is scheduled for Saturday at 2:30pm Irish time (3:30pm local time).

You can catch the match live on Virgin Media One in the Republic of Ireland and ITV1 in the United Kingdom.

Ireland team to face Romania

Fullback. 15. Hugo Keenan

Winger. 14. Keith Earls

Centres 13. Garry Ringrose 12. Bundee Aki

Winger 11. James Lowe

Outhalf 10 Jonathan Sexton  Scumhalf 9. 9. Jamison Gibson-Park

Front Row 1. Andrew Porter  2. Rob Herring 3. Tadhg Furlong

Second Row 4. Joe McCarthy  5. James Ryan

Back Row 6. Tadhg Beirne 7. Peter O’Mahony  8. Caelan Doris

Replacements: 16. Ronan Kelleher, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Tom O’Toole, 19. Iain Henderson , 20. Josh van der Flier, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Jack Crowley, 23. Robbie Henshaw