Andy Farrell refuses to blame injuries for Ireland’s form

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has expressed doubt over whether he has picked the strongest possible team for the game with Scotland.

Farrell was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Autumn Nations Cup encounter with the Scots and bemoaned the injury-laden nature of rugby.

While captain Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw will return to the fray for Ireland this weekend, Farrell noted that there are still a few first-choice players unavailable to him.

“When do you ever get your strongest team together, you know? On record, everyone knows that we’ve had quite a few injuries out there. But that’s professional sport.

“There’s no excuse. You’d expect six or seven players to come back into contention for the Six Nations.

“But as we know the type of games that the lads are going to be playing over the next six or seven weeks, when they go back to their provinces, are pretty intense and pretty fierce encounters themselves.

“You’re always having to deal with that aspect of things. Do you ever really get to what’s your strongest team? Probably not.

“But at the same time there’s always going to be a wish list after you’ve witnessed what has gone on in front of you regarding the last six or seven weeks,” Farrell commented.

‘He’s been champing at the bit’

The former England rugby league and rugby union international revealed that Sexton’s return promises to be a significant boost to the team and praised his calming nature.

“Obviously Johnny coming back from a hamstring injury is a big boost for the lads. Johnny is our captain and has been missing for a couple of weeks, although he has been working unbelievably hard in the background to make his presence felt.

“He’s come through his rehab in the right amount of time. He has been ahead of schedule. He’s champing at the bit and ready to go.

“What does he bring? He brings a feeling to the group that makes everyone right and ready to go for a big Test match at the weekend,” Farrell said.

Ireland take on Scotland at 2.15pm this Saturday in the Aviva Stadium in the third place play off of the Autumn Nations Cup.

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