Ireland will have no problem bouncing back from loss to England – Andy Farrell

Andy Farrell is confident Ireland will quickly dust themselves down for another shot at Guinness Six Nations glory after their dream of successive Grand Slams was extinguished in heartbreaking fashion by England.

Farrell’s men were on the brink of retaining the championship title with a round to spare when Marcus Smith kicked a last-gasp drop goal to settle a captivating Twickenham encounter 23-22 in the hosts’ favour.

While back-to-back clean sweeps are now off the table, Ireland will still win the tournament if they defeat Scotland next weekend in Dublin.

“We said from the beginning that we’d like to be in with a chance of winning the competition on the last day and here we are,” said head coach Farrell.

“Look, the lads are realists, they’ll learn the lessons quickly.

“There’s not a problem at all about getting the lads back on track for next week.

“Six Nations (titles) are unbelievably difficult to come by. To win them you tend to have a lot of ups and downs.

“We were on the wrong side of that result but there will be absolutely no problem whatsoever getting back to work next week for what is a super important week for Irish rugby.

“You dust yourselves down. We’ve been very good at winning and moving on to the next one. We’ve got to be really good at losing as well.

“We’ve got to dust ourselves down tomorrow and make sure that we turn up with a smile on our face because we’ve got a championship to win next weekend.”

England's Marcus Smith kicks the winning drop goal against Ireland
Marcus Smith kicks the winning drop goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

England were overwhelming underdogs ahead of Saturday evening’s showdown but emphatically answered their critics by producing the finest display of the Steve Borthwick era.

Yet James Lowe’s second try of the afternoon, which arrived in the 72nd minute and added to four Jack Crowley penalties, looked to have snatched victory for the visitors until Smith’s decisive intervention.

Farrell had no complaints about the result and was full of praise for the opposition, who crossed three times through Ollie Lawrence, George Furbank and Ben Earl to bounce back from a disappointing Calcutta Cup loss to Scotland in round three.

“Look at the quality of the players that they’ve got,” said Farrell.

“Certainly when you’re coming off the back of a defeat it tends to concentrate the mind a little bit – hopefully it does for us next week.

“We always prepare for every game for everyone to be at their best.

“I thought they were super tonight, I thought they were physical, they were challenging on the gain line and played a nice brand of rugby as well.

“To cut a long story short, I actually thought that England deserved to win.”