Farrell says Ireland know what they need to fix after bruising defeat to New Zealand

Ireland coach Andy Farrell says his side know the improvements they need to make to beat New Zealand and stay alive in the summer Test series.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell says his side know the improvements they need to make to beat New Zealand and stay alive in the summer Test series.

Seeking a first-ever win over the All Blacks on their own turf, the visitors took the lead thanks to an excellent early score from Keith Earls.

But New Zealand responded impressively with four tries inside a 17-minute stretch of the first half to take the game away from Ireland, eventually running out 42-19 winners.

In the end, it was routine for the hosts, who are unbeaten at Eden Park in 28 years.

Ireland, however, did have their moments in the game and Farrell said his team know what is required to bring about a different outcome in the second Test next week.

“We are gutted to lose,” the Ireland boss said afterwards. “You don’t get many opportunities to break a record and it’s an outstanding record (to stay unbeaten in 47 games at Eden Park).


“You can see why they hold that aura here.

“Having said that, the players know what they did well and they know how the game flowed and the things that we need to fix to stay in the series next week.

“I thought we created quite a bit actually but ultimately, like I said before the game, you’ve got to score points against the All Blacks. There’s no doubt about that.

“It isn’t a dejected changing room. It’s one that will dust itself off, learn the lessons and attack next week.”

Ireland’s already difficult task against the All Blacks was made even trickier when they lost captain Johnny Sexton to injury in the opening half.

The 36-year-old was taken off with a head injury and was assessed for a potential concussion.

But in perhaps the biggest positive for Ireland to take from a bruising evening in Auckland, Farrell later revealed his captain still has a chance of taking to the field for the second Test, depending on the head injury assessment process.

“Johnny is good, he is in fine spirits,” Farrell added. “He has just passed his HIA 2, so he’s got a HIA 3 to do in the next couple of days.

“He’s in good form in there.

“He’s not ruled out of the second Test, no.

“HIA 2 is passed, HIA 3 will hopefully be passed in a few days. If that happens, it’s concussion not confirmed.”

Ireland have had little luck with injuries since making the long journey to New Zealand for the three-match series.

Centre James Hume is already ruled out of the tour due to a groin injury, while replacement hooker

Dave Heffernan was concussed so is unlikely to be available for selection again until the series finale.

But Farrell refused to point towards bad luck and instead said selection issues are a common hazard on any tour and that his group would learn from the challenges they are facing.

He added: “That’s the game, injuries are part of it. We are here to find out about ourselves and there is no better place to do that than New Zealand.

“It is not easy here but do we want it to be easy? I don’t know.

“We are here to test ourselves in all different types of manner, here to test ourselves as staff to see how we cope with five matches in three weeks, here to see whether our players have got excuses or not in regards to backing up, different ways of training etc.

“Doing it that way, to me, makes us stronger as a group, it makes our culture stronger, our environment stronger, makes us ready for obstacles that are going to get in our way over the next 18 months.”