09:26 14 Mar 2021

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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell praised his players after a three-point win over Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations.

The win at Murrayfield, which is Ireland's second this championship, was far from convincing.

The visitors led by 14 points at one stage but needed a Johnny Sexton penalty in the last five minutes of normal time to seal the win after the Scots came back to draw level twice.

Speaking after the game Farrell backed his side, particularly their mental strength.

"My overriding feeling is one of pride, really.

"I thought when things were not quite going the way, at the business end of the game, the last 10 minutes is where it could have been won or lost.

"To come back from a few slip-ups, error wise, etc and to defend like we did, that would take down a few teams mentally, but they stayed together, they re-focused, they re-grouped and they stayed next-moment focused.

"Big game players, that's what they do, they take responsibility, and Johnny put over the points.

"We'll pick it apart like we always do, there's plenty to work on, as always."

The win marked a sixth consecutive victory for Ireland over Scotland.

Farrell felt this was impressive, particularly with their opponents in good form, with particular momentum behind them after their opening win over England.

"Everyone knows Scotland are a good side and nobody finds it easy coming here and getting away with a victory, never mind with the form that they've been in.

"I've been here plenty of times and struggled with most teams that I've been up here with so I'm really proud to get the win, really proud in the way that we started the game and ended the game, but obviously, there's things to work on."

Much has been made over the last few weeks of Paul O'Connell's influence since he was appointed as forwards coach.

Farrell was keen to praise the Limerick native today and the impact he has had.

"He's been top class, that's why we brought him in.

"I've known Paul for quite some time now, I know how serious he is about his rugby, and everyone else does.

"This is his first time at international rugby, he's still learning the ropes, and doing a fantastic job at the same time, which is all credit to him, his work ethic and knowledge and how he is with the boys."

Scotland won just two of their eight lineouts with Ireland putting massive pressure on.

Farrell pointed out though that the success of the line-out isn't one-dimensional.

"Paul would be the first person to acknowledge the work that Simon Easterby had done when Paul came in.

"Paul's been on record during the week saying that he's happy to facilitate some of the stuff that's already there and he'll also be the first to say regarding the defensive line-out that it's the ownership of the player's that matter.

"They have drove that side of the line-out superbly well and Paul will be the first to say that."

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Andy Farrell Guinness Six Nations Ireland Paul O'Connell

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