Time for Andy Farrell’s Ireland to emerge from Schmidt era

Irish fans hope for a winning start to the Six Nations on Sunday against Wales, and also for a fresh and clear identity for the team to take shape under the head coach

‘Depending on who you listen to, Andy Farrell’s Ireland are either on the right track or stuck in a rut. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.‘ Picture: Inpho/Laszlo Geczo

If you consider the squad Andy Farrell, the Ireland head coach, has to pick from the task ahead does not seem excessively daunting. For this team, a positive Six Nations championship requires finishing in the top two of a six-team tournament.

Yet Farrell’s first 12 months in charge left plenty to be desired. There were some encouraging developments along the way, but elements of Ireland’s play badly let them down against both England and France ...