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YESTERDAY IN TOKYO was the end of the line with Ireland for Joe Schmidt, Rory Best, and Greg Feek.
The Andy Farrell era begins now and with his contract as head coach extending all the way to 2023 to include the next World Cup, building towards finally breaking Ireland’s miserable record at the tournament must be the primary goal.
It will be fascinating to see how the Englishman approaches the long-term job and how soon he begins to make changes in playing style and personnel.
Ireland had no answers for the brilliant All Blacks.
Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
Farrell’s first campaign will be the 2020 Six Nations, which begins in 14 weeks’ time, and there will be clamour from the outside for a notable turnover.
Certainly, yesterday was the last World Cup for a handful of Ireland’s more experienced players. It’s difficult to see 34-year-old Johnny Sexton and 33-year-old Rob Kearney playing in another World Cup, while the injured Sean Cronin is also 33.
It remains to be seen how long 31-year-olds Cian Healy, John Ryan and Keith Earls play on for, while Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and Dave Kilcoyne are all 30 now. Each of these men will play on with Ireland shorter-term, of course, but we simply don’t know what Ireland will look like at the next World Cup.
Farrell has a young core to build around. James Ryan looks like a future Ireland captain.
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