23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
The 45-year-old bears a pained expression when he is forced to recall the 43-21 humbling the Irish received in Melbourne last November and intends that never happens again as he seeks to go one better than last year and seal the Grand Slam.
"There is a difference between losing and losing badly," he admitted. "We left the stadium that night feeling sick at our performance. It is not the easiest thing to rebuild ones confidence from that sort of hiding," added O'Sullivan, who only the week before had seen his side push Australia all the way in their pool match ending up losing 17-16.
Inspirational centre and newly-appointed full-time skipper Brian O'Driscoll concurred with his coach and said they would seek to rectify the impression they had left on the international stage when they meet in Paris on St Valentines Day (February 14).
"We have to improve on our defence because in the first-half of the quarter-final it was non-existant (they trailed 27-0)," said the 25-year-old, who is racing against time to recover from a hamstring injury. "To see your World Cup disappear like that and in such a bad fashion is a stunning feeling."
However O'Driscoll says that while the squad have not trained together since the French match, they have had a couple of get togethers to talk things over.
"We have thought of a couple of things to hurt France with," said O'Driscoll, who Ireland will need fully fit to really stand any chance of beating the French and keeping alive their hopes of winning the Grand Slam.
O'Sullivan's main concern is that aside from O'Driscoll, who burst onto the international scene with a hat-trick of tries against France in 2000 when Ireland ended a 28-year losing streak in Paris, he has a growing injury list and the huge gap left by the retirement of Keith Wood.
Should O'Driscoll not make it they will be sorely hit in the backs as other absentees, certainly for the France match, are winger Denis Hickie (joint second equal with O'Driscoll on the all-time tryscorers list with 21) and exciting fullback Geordan Murphy, while veteran flankers Alan Quinlan and Eric Miller are also out.
"This is the problem a lot of sides are going to face with no break between the World Cup and the domestic season," said O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan, though, still believes that Ireland can have a successful tournament but tried to play down fans' expectations of the Grand Slam.
"England have been the best side in the world for the past five years and it took them that amount of time to achieve the Grand Slam ... that is how hard it is to win it," he said.