“Getting the learnings from a defeat is one thing. But getting the learnings from a bonus-point win and being harsh on yourself is what we always do. Playing for the Triple Crown is huge for us and performing and putting pressure on France is what we’re about” – Andy Farrell
Last Updated: 14/03/22 4:18pm
Ireland second rows James Ryan and Ryan Baird will miss their final Six Nations match against Scotland on Saturday through injury, with uncapped duo Ross Molony and Joe McCarthy called up.
Ryan must go through return-to-play protocols after suffering a concussion in the weekend’s 32-15 victory over England.
The Leinster lock left the pitch at Twickenham after less than two minutes following a head-on-head tackle by Charlie Ewels that led to the England second row’s dismissal after just 82 seconds.
Baird, who started in place of Ryan in the previous outing against Italy, has also been ruled out with a back issue, meaning Ulster’s Iain Henderson is likely to join Tadhg Beirne in the second row, having come on for most of the game on Saturday.
Ireland had already lost two first-choice front row players to injury earlier in the competition and their scrum struggled mightily against England’s pack without prop Andrew Porter and hooker Ronan Kelleher.
Ireland trail France by two points and are the only team who can stop the unbeaten leaders from winning the title.
They will likely need England to win in Paris on Saturday to have a shot at the championship by beating Scotland in Dublin.
“Look, I’m not concerned about it at all. We all know we’ve got a world-class scrum, we know the personnel we’ve got,” head coach Andy Farrell said on Monday.
“It’s going to be great learning, isn’t it? For the likes of Dan [Sheehan] and the rest of the pack, they were searching for some answers, asking the questions and I’m not sure if they got the answers or not.
“We’ll look at ourselves first and liaise with the right channels and make sure we get to the bottom of it.
“I think we all know that we’ve got a good scrum. England found a way and congratulations to them.”
He added: “Getting the learnings from a defeat is one thing. But getting the learnings from a bonus-point win and being harsh on yourself, being honest, is what we always do.
“The review will be the same, the group want to know how to get better so we’ll make sure to get them some answers.”
Following successive third-placed finishes in the opening two Six Nations campaigns of his tenure, Farrell is happy to be in with a shot of glory going into the deciding weekend.
Yet he does not envisage an easy ride from Gregor Townsend’s Scots as in-form Ireland chase the minimum of a Triple Crown.
“It’s what we want,” he said of Ireland’s current position.
“The ideal part for everyone starting the competition, they all want to go for a Grand Slam, there’s no doubt about that.
“There’s only one team that’s allowed to do that, but we’re on to the next task and the next task for us is making sure that we prepare unbelievably well for what is a massive occasion for us at Aviva Stadium playing for a trophy.
“Playing for the Triple Crown is huge for us and performing and putting pressure on France is what we’re about, but at the same time we know that Scotland will want to finish the competition off really well.
“Everyone does at the end of a competition and we’ll expect them to be at their best.
“We know that they’re a hell of a side as well, so we’ve got to make sure that we recover properly, be honest with ourselves, take the learnings and make sure we’re ready for a final next week.”