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Six Nations: Ireland's Andy Farrell rejects Six Nations ‘anti-climax’ claim as Grand Slam bid ends

Andy Farrell dismissed suggestions retaining the Guinness Six Nations title could now feel like an anti-climax after Ireland’s hyped quest for back-to-back Grand Slams was crushed.

The reigning champions looked well placed to make history by delivering consecutive tournament clean sweeps before suffering Saturday’s last-gasp loss to title rivals England at Twickenham.

Avoiding defeat to Scotland in the final round will almost certainly ensure Ireland keep hold of their crown, while even a loss would still leave Steve Borthwick’s side requiring a bonus-point win in France to snatch glory.

Head coach Farrell, who feels it would be “unjust” for his team to still be in Grand Slam contention following England’s best display under Borthwick, is keen to put things in perspective moving towards what should be another memorable St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin.

He said: “Anti-climax? How many times have we won the Six Nations?

“Everyone would love to be in our position. We’ve got to make sure we’re loving that challenge as well.

“I’ve absolutely no doubt that they (Ireland supporters) 100 per cent will be on song. Paddy’s weekend again, with the chance of winning a Six Nations.

“It could have been a little bit better but Grand Slams are unbelievably hard to come by. Six Nations are hard enough, as everyone would vouch for.”

No team has won successive Grand Slams in the Six Nations era, with France the last side to achieve the feat in the 1998 Five Nations.

Ireland were seconds away from remaining on course to snap that statistic thanks to two James Lowe tries and four Jack Crowley penalties.

But Marcus Smith’s dramatic added-time drop goal earned England a deserved 23-22 victory to keep alive the title race, raising question marks over Ireland’s game management in the final minutes.

“I thought we could have kicked longer and out,” said Farrell.

“There’s one we kicked long and not out; the other one was out and a little bit short. But those are small bits that matter in the end.

“At the end of the day, I might sound stupid saying this but I thought it would have been unjust for England not to win the game. I thought they played really well.”

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