Andy Farrell admits Ireland’s squad depth will be severely tested after captain Johnny Sexton was among a host of senior players ruled out of Sunday’s must-win Six Nations clash with France. Fly-half Sexton and vice-captain James Ryan have failed to fully come through return-to-play protocols after a concussion, while scrum-half Conor Murray has sustained a hamstring problem and Peter O’Mahony is suspended.
“We’re excited about it. We’ve obviously lost a few experienced players during the week but one man’s loss is another man’s opportunity,” Farrell said. “The squad is united in the excitement of the challenge ahead for the weekend. You have your fingers crossed along the way that things don’t go this way, but that’s why you pick a squad like you do in the autumn and give people a chance to see what it’s like at international rugby.”
“Our squad depth is coming into play at this moment in time. It’s been challenging, but every Test week always presents its own challenges,” he added. “There has been a lot going on this week but we’re a squad and we’ve been a squad since we met up. Everyone has been swapping in and out. You always have at the back of your mind the ‘what if’ scenarios and here we are. We will give it our best shot, there is no doubt about that.”