DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland coach Andy Farrell says there is still room for improvement following back-to-back wins at the start of the Six Nations and with a crunch clash against England at Twickenham later this month.
Ireland were impressive in their 24-14 bonus-point victory over Wales in Dublin on Saturday as they dominated territory, the breakdown and set-piece play, and scored four tries to two.
But Farrell, who took over the team from Joe Schmidt following last year’s World Cup, felt his side could be more clinical and hopes they show that against England in a match that could go a long way to deciding this year’s Six Nations title.
“We said it wasn’t a brilliant performance but we had a good preparation this week with an improved performance,” Farrell told reporters.
“But even after a bonus-point win there is plenty more in us and we’ll be looking to do that.
“It’s a good place to be, two from two and still plenty to do. We’ve room for improvement. It’s a good place to be.”
Ireland led 12-7 at halftime and might have been further ahead with some better finishing.
“It was a gutsy performance. We didn’t convert as much as we could have in the first-half and Wales might have been happier going in at the break.
“We just need to make sure we’re nice and physical for the full 80 minutes. For much of it, we were going forward in defence and attack.
“In the second half our set-piece tightened up, our defence was good and we converted our chances in attack. If we have a foundation like this we can build massively.
“We were calm in the first half in terms of seeing space and using it, we played some great stuff. We defended a lot in the second half and then got a bit clunky but it’s a good learning for us.”
Farrell also praised his players for handling the gusty wind conditions that meant they kept the ball in hand more rather than look to the boot.
“We saw a bit of grit from the boys, conditions weren’t great so to come out on top against the wind was awesome.
“We’ve good players and they know how to win games. We’ve got a bit of a break and we’ll come back to build on what we’ve started.”
Ireland travel to Twickenham on Feb. 22, hoping for a repeat of their 24-15 victory in 2018 that helped them secure the Grand Slam.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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