Rob Kearney was full of praise for Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, crediting him with improving the atmosphere in the Irish camp.
Ireland capped off their Six Nations campaign with a Triple Crown triumph, and although France won major silverware, the men in green can be pleased with their efforts in this year’s Championship.
Many Irish players have spoken very positively about their involvement with the national team under Farrell, which has not necessarily happened under previous coaches.
Kearney was speaking on Virgin Media after Ireland’s win over Scotland and argued that the more pleasant atmosphere in the national camp had had a positive effect on the team’s performance.
Rob Kearney on the improved environment under Andy Farrell.
“To be fair to him, he made this environment an incredibly fun place for the players. That wasn’t always the case,” Kearney said.
“Talking to a lot of the guys who are still involved there, they’re really, really enjoying the camp. When he says this band is incredibly tight-knit and they’re really good friends, he really means it.
“It just brings you closer. You don’t always notice it until the tokens are really depleted and times get tough.
“That’s when those connections and those friendships…you know that the person next to you is really going to put their body on the line for you and you’re going to do the same for them. That’s the most important thing when it’s it’s about team performance.
“He’s a smart guy. He could have felt the atmosphere under Joe.
Rob Kearney has praised Andy Farrell for the culture and spirit within the Irish team, especially compared to the latter days of the Joe Schmidt era.#IREvSCO #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/Xo42umNq7v
— Virgin Media Sports (@VMSportIE) March 20, 2022
That’s the first thing he changed.
Kearney didn’t spend any time in the Ireland squad with Farrell as head coach as his international career ended shortly before the Englishman took over.
However, Farrell has acted as a defense coach under Joe Schmidt for more than three years, and Kearney hasn’t been surprised by the improvements since 2020.
“Andy Farrell, he’s a smart guy. So he could very well have felt the atmosphere under Joe,” Kearney explained.
“I wasn’t directly involved with Andy when he became head coach, but that’s the first thing he changed. It pays huge dividends and as Shane (Horgan) says, when they’re happy, that’s when they play their best rugby.
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