With a Six Nations Championship on the line, Ireland prop Cian Healy insists there is no further incentive needed as the men in green travel to Paris for the decisive round 5 clash with France.
Having won just once in Paris over the last 42 years, Ireland face a very tough task but Cian Healy believes the accuracy instilled into the players by Joe Schmidt sees them heading to France with nothing to fear.
“I don’t think we have to get fired up. We back ourselves completely in everything we’ve done,” said the 26-year-old prop.
“Emotion is natural to an Irish team and when we have that tied in with being well-drilled and being accurate in everything, that is our way of breaking them down. We don’t have to go in with mad, aggressive heads, trying to beat people up.
“It’s all about being accurate and being on the ball all the time. It’s a different team than there has been for 40 years.
“This is a well-drilled, accurate team that’s focused on every aspect of the game. We have been playing well enough to be able to go over feeling good.”
With Brian O’Driscoll set to play his final game in green on Saturday evening, Healy stated that sometimes there is a danger of letting emotion take over.
Being well prepared for the game is what this squad believe will see them across the line rather than the emotion for O’Driscoll’s 133rd and final Test appearance for Ireland.
“Every game he plays now is his last he plays against someone, so we had it for a while but it is something you have to park. You can’t let emotion like that take you over.
“We’ve got to be clinical going into this game and we rely on being well-drilled and not being fired up just to give Drico a send-off.”
France come into the final round having crawled over the line against Scotland at Murrayfield with Jean-Marc Doussain converting a late penalty to secure a 19-17 victory.
Healy’s scrum opponent, Nicolas Mas, walked out of a press conference earlier this week as he faced questions on France’s discipline in the scrum. However, the Dubliner expects Mas to be firing on all cylinders come Saturday.
“You never know with the French lads. They can come out fairly fired-up in a game and that could be fuel to the fire they need to come into the game,” he admitted.
“Anything like that wouldn’t be a case for me to let my guard down. He’s a tough opponent and I’m going to have to be well fired-up for him and work pretty well in the front row as a unit.”
While Healy missed out on the 2009 Grand Slam – making his Ireland debut later that year against Australia – he has tasted success with Leinster in the Heineken Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup and RaboDirect PRO12 competitions.
Those experiences have seen Healy develop his focus in game week as he approaches Saturday’s much-anticipated clash like any other game.
“You understand to not let it get ahead of you after a while. Early seasons I was building myself up from the Tuesday. It’s good to be relaxed now at the moment and not letting myself run away with it yet.
“I treat all games the same. It is fairly chilled out up until the morning of the game and I start loading up on my coffee, listening to my music and getting in the zone. It’s the right routine to have myself in the right head space going into a game.”
With France having a six-two forwards/backs split on their replacements bench, Healy is expecting a very physical test but insisted that the Irish pack are well able to counter the threat France pose up front.
“We are well able for that. We back ourselves fully in the forwards to be able to front up physically against any of the packs.
“If it is going to come straight down the channel, let it be and we’ll be able to do that and free up the boys out wide then.
“I’ll have a job to do up front this weekend and take it to their pack along with the rest of the lads. When you have that done and you get yourself out and about, then the ball comes to you for a bit of a run.”
As he contemplates Ireland’s opportunity to lift the trophy in the final match of the Championship, he agreed: “It’s a nice place to be, but there’s a lot to go over before we get to that.”