Paul O'Connell told us what we need to improve, reveals Iain Henderson

Paul O'Connell told us what we need to improve, reveals Iain Henderson

Paul O'Connell has fired up Ireland's forwards for Sunday's pivotal battle with France by detailing all their World Cup shortcomings.

Captain O'Connell spent Tuesday morning outlining every deficiency that has arisen for Ireland's pack, despite three victories in Pool D.

Italy's physicality stunted Ireland's phase play despite Joe Schmidt's men prevailing 16-9 on Sunday to secure a quarter-final berth.

Now talisman lock O'Connell has demanded a recalibration against Les Bleus, to ensure Ireland avoid the All Blacks in the last eight.

"We had a forwards meeting and Paul (O'Connell) pointed out all the things we've got to work on," said Ulster lock Iain Henderson.

"That's not just from the Italy game, but from earlier in the World Cup too and even then against the French in the Six Nations.

"Everyone's quite clear-cut in what they have to do better and what they have to do more of."

Subduing France up front will be critical to Ireland's chances of victory in the Pool D decider at the Millennium Stadium.

Win and Ireland will almost certainly face Argentina in the last eight, evading defending champions New Zealand's half of the draw.

Ireland must summon every ounce of their choke-tackle nous to suffocate France's power runners, with juggernaut Mathieu Bastareaud doubtless to the fore on the charge.

Ulster's fast-improving Henderson has installed himself as Ireland's new enforcer at the World Cup, now realising his long-held potential.

France boast one of the meatiest packs at this World Cup, so the 23-year-old and his locking partner O'Connell must strain every sinew in Sunday's tight exchanges.

"We've beaten France the last two times we've played them, but it's been close," said Henderson.

"And we know just how dangerous the French are at World Cups.

"If we get our game right and our set-piece running though, I hope we can get the upper hand.

"If we get all our stuff right then I don't see why we can't turn them over though."

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