DUBLIN, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Ireland got what they needed from their rescheduled Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday, coach Andy Farrell said after a bonus point 50-17 victory gave them a shot of winning the championship next week.
Ireland are one point ahead of England and France and while a bonus point win in Paris will guarantee the title, captain Johnny Sexton conceded a narrower victory may not be enough as England go to Rome trailing by a points difference of 23.
Ireland will also have to seek just their fourth win away to France in 48 years without centre Garry Ringrose who Farrell said appeared to have fractured his jaw in the first half and could be out for up to six weeks.
“We got out of it what we wanted to, a bonus point win. We’re in the hunt next week. A tall order to go to Paris and win over there,” Farrell told Irish broadcaster Virgin Media.
“We’re going to have to be better in all aspects of our game. They’re a formidable side, especially over there in Paris so we’ll need to do better across the board.”
While Farrell was frustrated his side gave up a potentially crucial last gasp try in their bid to pile the pressure on his native England, he praised their defensive performance and the contributions of four debutants.
Winger Hugo Keenan got two tries and Will Connors the man of the match award as their Leinster team mates Ed Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park also tasted their first international action off the bench in the empty Aviva Stadium.
“I’m delighted for all four of the lads, they turned up, weren’t frightened of the occasion at all and they played exceptionally well,” Farrell said.
“I’m just gutted that their parents couldn’t be here to see the game, they’ve worked so hard, taken them around the country and they deserved to be here but it is what it is, unfortunately.” (Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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