Andy Farrell Explains His Selection Decisions For Italy & The Interesting Way He Named The Team

On their toes.

Andy Farrell is man that seems to have benefitted massively from the extended break with the Ireland boss reinvigorated and full of new ideas as he looks to win a Six Nations crown in his first championship in charge.

He spoke last week about evolving Ireland’s game, encouraging the players to play what’s in front of them so to speak and start to play some more heads up rugby going forward, something former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll is a big fan of.

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Farrell has also looked to keep the players on their toes this week, with the head coach revealing this afternoon that he waited until after training this morning before telling his players what his team was for this weekend.

He reckons his players need to be adaptable going forward.

“You’ve got to be adaptable,” Farrell said.

“Keeping people on their toes is the reason for the selection today.”

Selection wise Farrell has made some interesting calls. Uncapped Leinster starts Hugo Keenan and Will Connors start, as do veterans Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray despite their recent injury problems.

“They’re generals of the game and they’ve got the authority to play the way we want to,” Farrell said of his halfback selection.

On Connor’s and Keenan, Farrell said the former was “champing at the bit” for several months now with Josh van der Flier doing “nothing wrong” to miss out, while Keenan has had “a great start after lockdown.”

Meanwhile in the centre, Farrell has explained his decision to go with Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose.

“All five of the centres always seem to be fit which is a great place to be,” Farrell added.

“We have massive trust in Robbie Henshaw. He has played a hell of a lot for us and he is going to come off the bench and do a great job but Stu McCloskey and Chris Farrell are great players that we all admire as a coaching staff.

“You are able to have a conversation in camp between them and to tell them the truth about where they are at. I’m sure they are all waiting for their chances and that when they do they will grab it with both hands as well.”