Click here for photos from Ireland’s training session at St. Gerard’s School in Bray, County Wicklow, on Tuesday.
Pictured above: Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and captain Brian O’Driscoll at Tuesday’s training at St. Gerard’s. O’Driscoll sat out the session but is fit and ready for Saturday’s crunch clash with France. The Leinster centre said of the Paris trip: “We are going to have to push our performance up – certainly 20 or 30 per cent – if we are to live with the French…if we won ugly again, we’d be perfectly happy.
“French sides in the past have been accused of travelling badly, but one thing is for certain, they always play well at home. They are always a different side when you play them in Paris. I think you take much more on board from what they did in November, than you would (from) last weekend against Scotland.
“There is pressure on the French team, there is pressure on Bernard Laporte and when your backs are against the wall you have a tendency to improve your performances. I have been in that situation myself and you tend to dig a bit deeper when asked to.”
Munster and Ireland number 8 Anthony Foley at training. Foley was on standby to play in Paris if his provincial colleague Denis Leamy received a suspension at Wednesday’s disciplinary hearing in London. Leamy, however, was exonerated at the hearing of stamping on Italian scrum half Paul Griffen during last Saturday’s win over the Azzurri and the Tipperary man is free to play.
Wasps scrum half Eoin Reddan will be hoping to earn his first cap off the bench at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Eddie O’Sullivan and Gordan D’Arcy discuss tactics after training at St. Gerard’s. O’Sullivan said of his team selection for France: “We had a look at it and we could have forced a few changes if we wanted to, but I think you’d probably be victimising somebody. I think it was a bad performance in general (against Italy).
“You couldn’t put your finger on anyone and say anyone played exceptionally well or exceptionally badly, it was just a generally disappointing performance. So I think what you’ve got to do in those situations is you’ve got to give guys a vote of confidence and say go out next week and prove that last week was a glitch.”
Munster and Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery prepares to throw in at a lineout at training. Flannery scored a try last week against Italy on his 6 Nations debut. The Limerick man said: “We just have to be ready for what’s waiting when we run out against France. We have to hit the ground running against them and can’t afford to be sloppy.
“Pace-wise I’ve played games for Munster which have been just as fast as last Saturday’s match but Italy were very physical. I’d never played against the Italians before but they were bruisers and France will be the same.
“The lads told me Italy would be the most physical of the packs in the 6 Nations, but France will offer a similar challenge for us.”
Ireland’s forwards get in some scrummaging practice for Paris.
**All photos by Dan Sheridan and Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**
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