Rugby-Challenging Six Nations schedule boost for Irish World Cup preparations

  • Rugby
  • Wednesday, 26 Jan 2022

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Ireland v United States - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - July 10, 2021 Ireland players celebrate after the match Pool via REUTERS/Donall Farmer

LONDON (Reuters) - A challenging Six Nations schedule over the next two months will allow Ireland more opportunity to prepare thoroughly for next year's World Cup, Ireland coach Andy Farrell said on Wednesday.

Ireland start against defending champions Wales in Dublin on Feb. 5 and are then away against France on Feb. 12 and later against England at Twickenham on March 12 in a tough fixture list.

"Having the champions at home for the first game is unbelievable, challenging and exciting at the same time," Farrell told a virtual news conference to launch this year's competition.

"Going to Paris and going to Twickenham is where we want to be, we want those challenges. We want it to be as tough as we possibly can because we keep finding loads about ourselves."

Farrell said the World Cup preparations were now in full swing, following their win at home over top ranked New Zealand in November.

"We always keep tracking where we're going and why we're going there. The journey has started up until the World Cup and it's a pretty exciting journey that we're going on, starting with last autumn's three tough games where we found out a lot about ourselves," he said.

"The Six Nations takes its own course and is always very unpredictable but it's the place where you want to be. And then obviously, we go to New Zealand at the end of the season, and we kick onto another year. And all those experiences are going to help us progress to the World Cup."

Ireland have been drawn in Pool B for the World Cup in France, with world champions South Africa, Scotland and two qualifiers.

Their tour to New Zealand sees them play three tests in July.

"We want to be living on the edge of where we're at, to keep pushing the boundaries and get better. If we have that single focus then, like the saying goes, 'the scores keep taking care of themselves'," he added.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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