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Ireland boss Andy Farrell say he ‘will not prioritise the World Cup over the Six Nations’

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell. Photo: PA/Reuters© PA

Cian TraceyIndependent.ie

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell insists he will not prioritise the World Cup over the Six Nations in order to ensure his side are in peak condition by the time they travel to France in September.

Instead, Farrell believes the success of both tournaments can go hand-in-hand as Ireland look to build on a successful 2022.

Ireland’s Six Nations preparations will begin today as the squad gathers for the first time, ahead of travelling to Portugal for a training camp later this week.

Farrell has been boosted by the return of winger James Lowe, who had been at home in New Zealand for personal reasons. Captain Johnny Sexton declared himself fit for the opener against Wales on February 4, while Farrell also confirmed that tighthead Tadhg Furlong will be available.

However, centre Robbie Henshaw (wrist) is touch and go to make it back for the French clash in round two.

Despite Henshaw’s absence, Ireland are in a good place as Farrell insisted that even in a World Cup year, the Six Nations campaign remains as important as ever.

“We will be honest enough with ourselves to see where we are at,” Farrell said.

“I know that we could have all the ambition in the world to finish number one, but in reality, we could still improve as a team and finish number two etc.

“But the lads are desperate to be successful and win. That’s the next thing that’s in front of us.

“During the competition, everyone would love an expectation to go on and win a Grand Slam, but the reality is, we know how difficult that is, especially with the way northern hemisphere rugby is being played at the minute.

“We want to win every game we play in,” Farrell added. “We want to win and perform and do the best we can because we want to keep going as a group.”

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