Farrell urges Irish improvement
Centre Chris Farrell says Ireland must produce better displays at the 2019 World Cup than on Saturday against Italy.
An experimental Irish side managed to win 29-10 in Dublin to kick off their World Cup preparations, but it was anything but convincing from the hosts, who twice found themselves behind.
Tries from Dave Kearney, Andrew Conway, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion and Joey Carbery gave them the win, but centre Farrell, who produced a solid performance to boost his hopes of making the squad for the tournament in Japan, admits more is required.
Speaking to Channel Four, he said: "There has always been a lot of pressure on this team and it is nice to start with a win. It is not the level we want to be playing at going into the World Cup, but it is a win and that gives us momentum.
"We got the first chance to put our hands up for the World Cup, but Italy are a tricky side. It took some time, but we broke them down eventually."
One area of concern for Ireland is an injury to Carbery, who was forced to leave the field on a medical cart because of what appeared to be an ankle issue in the 50th minute.
Head coach Joe Schmidt now faces a nervous wait to find out the extent of the fly-half's injury.
James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.