See below for some quotes from Ireland’s players ahead of today’s historic Six Nations encounter with France at Croke Park (kick-off 3pm).
“Both ourselves and Wales didn’t play well last week but France at home is a different kettle of fish. We were lucky to get a win and not play well.
“It’s a bit of foundation work that when we do get into a tough situation we can fall back on performances like that. France played very well against Italy and that’s the biggest score Italy have conceded for a while.”
“Every player wants to start in big games (like this one at Croke Park). You have to look at it like I’ve been injured for a while, and Rory (Best) has come in in and done very well – so many players have come through, if someone does get injured, we’re very lucky that a player will step in and do the job very capably.
“The match against France last year was a strange one – it was very much up and down. We were very disappointed after it. That was the game that cost us the championship and the Grand Slam. We didn’t play well, turned over too much ball and France capitalised on our mistakes.
“This weekend we’ve to be extra aware of how dangerous France can be from turnover ball and any sloppy play from us.
“It will be a huge sporting occasion on Sunday. A great day for Irish sport. From the players’ point of view, obviously we just want to go out and put on a good performance.”
“Croke Park’s pretty special without anyone in there. I can only imagine what it’s like with 80,000 people in there. It will be a hell of an atmosphere.
“(Last week against Wales) it was great to be able to justify my selection. As a Llanelli player, it was a strange situation – playing against my team-mates from the club – I’ve been there before. It was a really special game for me, I enjoyed the day and everything that went with it.
“Obviously France had a poor autumn by their own standards, but like all French sides, they’ve come back well and hammered Italy last week. They’ll be really up for this game and will come across with confidence, given that they’ve beaten us the last four times.”
“This week’s game is going to be bigger than last week’s game, and the English game is going to be bigger than that. Each game becomes more and more important.
“Even if you lose a game, the next one becomes more important. If you lose a game you’ve got to get straight back on the horses because four games might be enough to win the championship, although it won’t win a Grand Slam.
“The Welsh game was really tough and if you’d saw the reaction of the players when they came off the field, there was nobody jumping about or clicking their heels.
“Everybody was going: I’ve just played in a serious match and that is the kind of performance we need week-in, week-out.
“It’s probably good that we didn’t demolish Wales, we were very self critical of ourselves and we realise there is a lot to be done. We know we have to improve – we have to lift our game by 15 to 20% if we want to beat France.”