Six Nations: Andy Farrell wants Ireland to be calm and not ‘desperate’ in final push for Grand Slam

Dylan Coetzee
Six Nations Ireland head coach Andy Farrell looks on before their Test against Italy in Rome

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has called on his players to maintain their calmness and not let the occasion of a possible Grand Slam on St. Patrick’s weekend get the better of them.

Farrell’s side face England in Dublin in the final round of the Six Nations, having had a perfect campaign up until now with the Grand Slam only one step away.

Avoid desperation

The head coach sees desperation as an “illness”, something he wanted his side to stay clear of in front of a sold-out Aviva Stadium.

The occasion is truly massive, but Farrell believes everything changes once the players take to the field.

“All this stuff that you guys (the media) are going to be writing, it all becomes part of the circus, you know, managing all that,” he said.

“But in reality, anyone who has ever played in a big game, when you get over that white line all bets are off. It’s business time, isn’t it?

“All the emotion gets taken out after the first five minutes anyway and then you’ve got to be at your best.

“To me, desperation is an illness. You want to try and stay away from that.

“You can’t be accurate if you’re desperate. Being calm enough to be yourself and being controlled enough to be accurate when it matters is a temperament that we’re all chasing.”

History beckons

Should Ireland go on and fulfil their potential to seal the Grand Slam, it would be the team’s fourth and first ever to be claimed on home soil.

Farrell admits his side has been open about the possibility of claiming it in front of their home fans and that his side has earned that right.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about from day one coming in that it’s not been done here,” said Farrell.

“We’ve earned the right to have a go at that so we know how much it means to the Irish people, and their support has been unbelievable for us.

“I hope there’s a bit of a two-way thing on Saturday where we try and get them going and they try and get us going as well. You can feel the buzz.

“That’s what we’ve done, we’ve put ourselves in a position to have a crack at this and it’s something that we’ve been up front about from the beginning, which is pretty pleasing.

“Now we’re here, we’ve got to deliver. The expectation of making sure our best is saved to last is key for us.”

Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw return to the starting line-up as well as Ryan Baird, whilst Dan Sheehan and Caelan Doris were cleared to play despite injury concerns.

READ MORE: Six Nations: How Ireland won their three previous Grand Slams