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Farrell says conservative approach best for Six Nations title defence

By AFP - Jan 22,2024 - Last updated at Jan 22,2024

DUBLIN — Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said on Monday he was not a believer in the four-year World Cup cycle and a radical overhaul of his squad would be damaging to their Six Nations title defence.

Farrell has reflected that attitude in naming 34-year-old flanker Peter O’Mahony as captain in the wake of the retirement of Johnny Sexton following Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final exit last October.

Sexton is one of several greats of the game who will not grace the Six Nations this year. France’s Antoine Dupont is taking time out to seek Olympic glory in the sevens, while Dan Biggar has retired from the Wales setup and England’s Owen Farrell has taken time out for mental health reasons.

Only Italy’s Michele Lamaro remains of the captains from the Six Nations last year. Farrell, who since the World Cup has been named World Coach of the year and then British and Irish Lions coach for the 2025 tour of Australia, said he wants to grow the squad but not refresh it with a radical overhaul.

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