Andy Farrell could barely hide his satisfaction at Ireland’s opening bid in this year’s Six Nations with a five-point run at the expense of the champions. This extended his team’s winning streak to nine games ahead of next Saturday’s decisive game against France.
“Delighted with the win, and obviously the bonus is the bonus point,” said the Irish head coach. “Winning a bonus point against a team like Wales is no small feat so we are delighted, really happy with some aspects of our game and like all first games there is also a lot to work on. “
Although there was a palpable sense of disappointment that first-half supremacy for Ireland did not generate a bigger lead than 10-0, this was not shared by Farrell and his group. thinking at the interval.
“No, we just had to play the game that was ahead of us. 10-0 was good because the conditions were terrible there, they were terrible conditions. It was really hard to kick, hard to play, it was slippery, windy in the corners for our kicking game and for lineouts it was tough. Putting it all together Wales obviously came here to win and work on us to be able to get a bonus point, we’re delighted about that.
Also, as is so often the case, Ireland’s first-half supremacy paved the way for them to come clear in the third quarter, and another factor in their control was team discipline. local. They won the penalty tally 14-6 and only conceded their first penalty in the 54th minute.
“It was awesome, it was something we talk about constantly,” Farrell said. “Our discipline and our decision-making were excellent. Discipline doesn’t just count for penalties, it also counts for how you play your own game and it was pretty good across the board. There is also work to do. »
Securing the bonus point and effectively the 61st-minute victory also allowed Farrell to clear the bench thinking about next week’s trip to the Stade de France.
“It’s important that everyone is operational within the team and we also have a few guys on the outside who didn’t play today who will be fully fit for next week as well.”
Farrell could also feel fully justified in his decision to give 23-year-old Mack Hansen his Test debut after just nine games for Connacht.
Hansen had 10 runs and the most yards, 158, of any player in the game, as well as having a big hand in two of Ireland’s four tries.
“We are not surprised. He has the temper to handle the early days, he is very cool, calm and understood how he plays the game. It also suits the way we play the game, we want to be nice and controlled in how we make decisions and I thought it was quite fluid at times.
Hansen paid tribute to his teammates after an impressive Test debut that earned him the Man of the Match award.
“The guys inside made my job easier, with the forwards and backs executing great lines and playing really well together. We worked on that in Portugal, so it all came together like that, it’s special in front of a packed crowd. It was great to see the fans again.
“Honestly, it’s a dream come true. Everyone here has adopted me as their own. And I couldn’t be more proud to be Irish today, yeah.
I think my family and friends are watching, so kudos to them. I received special messages throughout the week and that made this week so special for me. I couldn’t be happier to be honest.
“It’s a good start, what we wanted but we know it will be a very difficult task in France. We will enjoy tonight and then focus on France.