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Andy Farrell praises Ireland’s character in scrappy win against Australia

Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell was pleased by his team’s show of character as Ireland battled to a 13-10 win in a scrappy game against Australia.

The free-flowing, high-scoring match that was promised never materialised, as Ireland and Australia, who are both very capable of producing attractive rugby, found themselves in an arm wrestle.

It wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory as very few highlight moments were offered up, although Ireland did retain their place at the top of the world rankings and stretched their winning run to five matches.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell was speaking to Virgin Media after the game and was complimentary of both sides despite the lack of entertaining rugby on show at the Aviva Stadium.

Andy Farrell on Ireland’s win against Australia.

“It was never in doubt, was it? It was all over the place, the game, wasn’t it? We knew Australia were going to bring that,” Farrell said.

“We know the mentality of the Australian sportsperson in general, and we certainly know that in rugby. They made it a street fight all over the park, especially at the breakdown.

“I thought they were awesome in and around the contact area as well. They’re very dangerous so it was always going to be a threat, but there’s a lot of things that we could talk about what we need to do better and fix.

“But at the end of the day, how we defended at times and kept them out and got through to the victory is what good teams do when they’re not playing too well.

“It was just a little bit scrappy, continuity-wise. But it took character, it took guts to get there in the end. We’ll take that against a very good side.”

High praise for Irish out-halves.

Ireland were dealt with a significant blow just minutes before the game started, as captain Johnny Sexton pulled up injured in the warm up, which meant that Jack Crowley started in just his second cap for his country.

Ross Byrne came onto the bench as a result, and he ended up slotting the winning penalty having only been drafted into the wider squad at the start of the week due to Joey Carbery’s injury.

Farrell was happy to see Ireland’s fringe players step up to the plate and was particularly complimentary of Byrne’s confidence as the 27-year-old ended a 20-month wait between caps.

“It’s brilliant for Ross. He’s been waiting for his chance and he only came in at the beginning of the week. To back himself, first and foremost, to go for the points just shows the confidence in the kid,” Farrell stressed.

“Congratulations to him. We’ve learned a hell of a lot today. It’s been good for us. It’s obviously not great to lose your captain just before the kick off but at the same time, there you go Jack [Crowley], it’s your time.

“What a story it has been form him over the last five or six weeks. Then Joe [McCarthy] getting his debut, Craig [Casey] coming on and playing a good part is great for our growth going forward.”

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