Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has backed his players to bounce back from their Six Nations defeat to France.

Yesterday’s 15-13 loss at the Aviva Stadium means that Ireland have lost their opening two games in the Six Nations for the first time – you have to go back to the Five Nations campaign in 1998 for the last time Ireland lost their first two games.

Next up is Italy on Saturday week, and Farrell says how his players respond over the next two weeks will be key.

“I’m unbelievably proud of their efforts, there’s a lot of lads hurting in there mentally and physically.

“At the same time, tests matches are there to be won, especially at home, a hard fought contest but one that slipped away from us in the end.

“We talk about the strength of the group, and the togetherness of the group, and how close they are etc – we’ll see how close we are now.

“We’ll show our true character, and make sure that we’re at our best.”

Former Ireland and Munster wing Moss Finn was our guest on the Big Red Bench yesterday, and said

“It was disappointing. We were scrappy. We sort of host ourselves in the foot a lot of the time, the better team won on the day. That’s not to say we didn’t have our chances and that we could have won, but I think the better team with the better players won.

“I think we seem to lack a strategy and cohesion under Andy Farrell. When we played under Joe Schmidt, we used to criticise him for being too regimental, but under Farrell we don’t seem to have any plan – players are supposed to be spontaneous and all that but I don’t think we have the quality of player on the pitch to be that.

“We didn’t seem to have any Plan A or Plan B and we were a little bit disjointed, and it manifested in the way we play.”

You can listen to the full interview with Moss Finn on the Big Red Bench podcast

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