Ireland captain Paul O’Connell has warned his team-mates not to be fooled by France’s poor showing against Scotland last weekend when the teams finally meet in Paris on Sunday.
Following the late, late postponement on February 11, when Ireland faced going into Stade de France on the back of a demoralising opening loss to Wales, O’Connell accepted yesterday that his side was in a better place to set about winning in the French capital for the first time since 2000.
However, he saw enough in France’s uncertain 23-17 win at Murrayfield last Friday to know Philippe Saint-Andre’s side have enough firepower to cause serious damage.
“They had a lot of confidence in their scrum,” O’Connell said of the French as an unchanged Ireland team from the Italy game was named:
“I don’t think they tapped and went with any of the free-kicks they wereawarded, they went for the scrum every time.
“They looked to make ground or to get penalties.
“That’s a massive part of their game, with Yannick Bru coaching the forwards.
“I thought they looked very dangerous. They didn’t get as much ball as they would have liked. When they were given half a chance, they looked incredibly dangerous.
“Whenever Scotland scored, they looked like they had another gear to go in to.”
That said, O’Connell has seen big improvements in the Irish squad since the team fell to a 23-21 defeat to Wales on February 5.
“When we went to Paris the first time three weeks ago, we were wary because we had conceded pressure and momentum too easily against Wales. So we know that it will be tough day if we fall down in that regard.
“You can’t turn over easy ball to them. We’re in a good place, we played well in the second half against Italy and trained well since then. The bench have done well and there’s a great incentive in training at themoment. It’s a tough challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
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