Rob Kearney believes it’s imperative Ireland master the mental side of their game to beat the best sides in the world.
Full-back Kearney, one of the star turns in Stade de France on Sunday, was not alone in thinking victory was let slip having led the rearranged RBS 6 Nations encounter against France 17-6 at half-time.
Asked if Ireland had lacked a killer instinct in the second half, the Leinster star implied that the squad needed to start thinking like champions.
“I think it’s about winning and having enormous self-belief as well,” Kearney said. “The more games you win, the more momentum you build and the more confidence you feel.
“If we have that inner desire and inner belief that we can beat anyone in the world, then we will. It all starts with mentality, I think.”
Kearney is convinced the Ireland players are not too far off the mark.
“We showed that in how we played,” he said. “We’re a good team, we have a lot of strong belief, we know what we can achieve, we know that on our day we can muscle up with some of the best teams in the world.
“And we did that, it’s just that the margins are so small and if we can just maybe…I think we might have lacked that one or two per cent of a killer instinct.
For all the praise Ireland received for their first-half performance, Kearney said Ireland would need a more complete performance this Saturday against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.
“We need to be an 80-minute team to win games as well. And in six days’ time Scotland are going to pose massive threats for us as well so we need to start like that again because they’re a good team and I think like ourselves they’ve had a couple of unlucky games in the Six Nations. ”
The Ireland full-back added that Declan Kidney’s side could not afford to dwell for too long on the disappointment of failing to score a first win in Paris since 2000, although he did not go as far as buying into the belief that a draw in France was a good result.
“It is and it isn’t. We still haven’t won here in so long.
“We came here and we wanted to win, we knew we were good enough to win and we can’t start taking this mindset that it was a good result, a good effort, the Irish fought hard again because we’re coming second best and we’re not going to be a competitive team that achieves if we take that attitude.
“If you don’t stop crying and move on, you’ll lose again and things just snowball.
“So sometimes after a game like that the perfect medicine is to get out again, we’re lucky to be back in Dublin in front of our own fans, our own crowd, and we need to get a win.”
The France squad to face England is:
Backs: C Poitrenaud, V Clerc, A Rougerie, W Fofana, M Mermoz, J Malzieu, F Trinh-Duc, L Beauxis, M Parra, J Dupuy.
Forwards: J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy, L Picamoles, T Dusautoir, L Nallet, Y Maestri, P Pape, D Attoub, V Debaty, N Mas, J Poux, D Szarzewski, W Servat.
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