Farrell keen for Ireland to be 'realistic' ahead of Six Nations

Farrell keen for Ireland to be 'realistic' ahead of Six Nations

Ireland's Andy Farrell has stated that while it's natural for players to aspire to win every game, there needs to be a realistic perspective behind the confidence.

Under Farrell's leadership, Ireland has emerged as one of the top rugby teams globally, achieving victories against every opponent during his tenure.

Despite initial struggles, the Irish squad reached the number one spot in the world rankings, secured their first-ever away win against New Zealand, claimed a historic home Grand Slam, and defeated formidable teams such as France, South Africa, England, and New Zealand multiple times.

While there is optimism about Ireland retaining their Six Nations crown in 2023, Farrell, addressing the media at the Six Nations launch, emphasised the importance of tempering expectations ahead of their first game against France in Marseille on February 2.

"We all know that winning a Six Nations is very hard to do because of the standard of the teams. What we’ve got in the competition continues to grow, and that’s why we all love it," said Farrell in the Guinness storehouse this week. "What does success look like?

"We want to win every game, and winning matters. I’ve never been one to shy away from that. I’ll say the same.

"But we’re realists, and we know that it’s difficult."

Joining Farrell at the Six Nations launch was Ireland veteran and new captain Peter O'Mahony. O'Mahony, revealing he contemplated retirement after Ireland's narrow loss to New Zealand, has decided to lead Ireland in the 2024 Six Nations.

Farrell also addressed questions about convincing O'Mahony to continue playing international rugby, stating that he always discusses such decisions with players based on their performance, form, and physical condition. He emphasised that, in O'Mahony's case, he didn't have to persuade him, as the decision was a natural one.

"I always speak to players, no matter what," added the 48-year-old. "To me, it's the same as anything. It's about how you're performing and how you’re playing.

"Certainly, whether your form warrants getting selected and whether your body can do that,. "I think those types of decisions, as far as that's concerned, become pretty obvious if you're allowing what's pretty natural to happen: 'I didn't have to persuade him, no."

Ireland, the reigning Six Nations and Grand Slam champions, will open their campaign against France in Marseille on February 2. Subsequent matches include home fixtures against Italy and Wales, an away game against England, and a final home clash against Scotland on Super Saturday, March 16.

All three of Ireland’s home matches at Aviva Stadium are sold out, with RTÉ and Virgin Media providing free-to-air coverage of the Guinness Men’s Six Nations in the Republic of Ireland and BBC and ITV broadcasting in the United Kingdom.

Ireland Squad: Guinness Men’s Six Nations 2024

Forwards (19):

  • Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) (15)
  • Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) (36)
  • Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) (46)
  • Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) (41)
  • Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) (36)
  • Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) (72)
  • Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) (125)
  • Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) (79)
  • Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) (26)
  • Jeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen)
  • Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin University)
  • Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) (101) (captain)
  • Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) (12)
  • Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) (59)
  • James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) (59)
  • Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) (21)
  • Tom Stewart (Ulster/Ballynahinch) (2)
  • Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) (3)
  • Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) (57)

Backs (15):

  • Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) (52)
  • Harry Byrne (Leinster/UCD) (2)
  • Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) (13)
  • Jack Crowley (Munster/Cork Constitution) (9)
  • Ciaran Frawley (Leinster/UCD) (1)
  • Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) (30)
  • Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) (62)
  • Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) (36)
  • Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College) (30)
  • James Lowe (Leinster) (26)
  • Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) (15)
  • Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) (112)
  • Calvin Nash (Munster/Young Munster) (1)
  • Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) (57)
  • Jacob Stockdale (Ulster/Lurgan) (37)

Training Panellists:

  • Oli Jager (Munster)
  • Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster)
  • Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne/Leinster)

denotes uncapped player

Ireland Six Nations campaign February 2:

Ireland vs. France (8 p.m. Irish time, Orange Velodrome in Marseille)

February 11: Ireland vs. Italy at Aviva Stadium (3 p.m.)

February 24: Ireland vs. Wales at Aviva Stadium (2.15 p.m.)

March 9: England vs. Ireland at Twickenham (4.45 p.m.)

March 16: Ireland vs. Scotland at Aviva Stadium (4.45 p.m.)