Paul O’Connell, who will captain Ireland against France should Brian O’Driscoll’s hamstring rule him out, faced the media after Wednesday’s team announcement in Killiney.
ON PLAYING AT CROKE PARK:
“Playing there now is going to be great. If Brian is out it will be an easy game to captain because the motivation will look after itself.
“We trained there last week, it’s an incredible stadium, with incredible facilities. It was great to get out there because the first time you do go out there your jaw really does drop, so we’re looking forward to it.”
ON HIS OWN FORM:
“It’s probably been steady, without being anything spectacular. I’m probably not making the impact I’d like to make. Hopefully, that will come – I’ve just got to keep working hard. I don’t know the reason.
“Sometimes things go for you. You know, you get into a run of form and things begin to happen. It probably hasn’t been happening for me lately. But I think the harder you work in games, the more things happen, the more luck you make for yourself and the more things come your way. And that’s what I just keep doing. Hopefully, it will turn.”
ON WHY HE HAS NOT BEEN CALLING THAT MANY LINEOUTS ON HIMSELF:
“We have a lot of line-out jumpers now. I mean, Wally (David Wallace) is coming into his own as a jumper, Leams (Denis Leamy) is an excellent jumper, Simon (Easterby) is probably the main jumper at Llanelli and Donncha (O’Callaghan) is an excellent jumper.
“So we’re trying to spread it out. If you have five guys being used more often, and there isn’t a lot of your ball going to one man, you are a much harder team to defend against in the lineout.”
ON THE BREAKDOWN BATTLE AGAINST WALES:
“The breakdown was very messy for both sides. They (the Welsh) were jumping through the rucks at Peter Stringer and I don’t know how legal that is.
“The breakdown is a hard area to referee but I don’t see any problems there at the weekend.”