Andy Farrell wants Ireland to improve further as they face Italy in round two

Ireland got off to a winning start in the Six Nations tournament
Ireland got off to a winning start in the Six Nations tournament

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell is expecting even higher standards from his side when they face Italy in the second round of the Six Nations on Sunday at Aviva Stadium.

Farrell's men kick-started their Six Nations campaign with a comfortable 38-17 victory over France riding on tries from Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Calvin Nash, Dan Sheenan and Ronan Kelleher.

They were also aided greatly by two yellow cards to Paul Willemse, who was eventually sent off in the 31st minute. Ireland will now be taking on Italy, who had a close run with England and were eventually defeated by a close margin of 27-24.

Despite Italy's strong performance against England, Ireland will be firm favourites when they head to Dublin on Sunday and Farrell wants his side to continue improving.

"You know me, I’m not disrespectful to anyone. It’s not the way that I am but honestly, it is about us.

"It’s about us improving on last week, and the expectation that we’ve got within our own four walls, of an understanding of how we kick on, as you constantly hear me say, in all parts of our game.

"It’s genuine, it’s there, it’s obvious for us to see the levels that we need to get to, not just on the field but off the field as well."

Farrell made six changes to the team for Italy as Tadhg Furlong and Peter O’Mahony are injured while Bundee Aki has been handed a rest. Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird and Stuart McCloskey have made their way in along with Craig Casey, James Ryan and Jack Conan.

"Our breakdown and line-out were outstanding last week, but that can get better. It can, and the proof is there for us to see.

"Paul (O’Connell) did a review/ preview yesterday, and our breakdown was immense against France.

"But you’d come away from that five minutes thinking that we were rubbish in that area, just because it matters. It matters to show people what it means to be striving to get better. It’s been a hard enough week, because when you do win with a victory like that, you’re able to go, “No, that’s not the level”

Ireland are positioned at the top of the Six Nations table following their bonus point victory over France.


Ireland Fixtures