Monday, August 22, 2011
Ireland lost their third successive Test as France beat them 26-22 in Dublin on Saturday. Two late tries gave the scoreline a look of respectability, after France had led 26-8 before taking their foot off the gas.
Ireland will need a good result against England next weekend to justify their decision to have such a gruelling run up to the tournament, after their fixtures had meant to get them match fit and firing on all cylinders. If anything, they've been a decent wake up call and has given them the opportunity to work out what's not quite right in the squad.
"There are no panic buttons being pressed," said Brian O'Driscoll. "This is not the World Cup we are not at the group stage yet. We showed in the first 15 minutes that we can do it and that we can handle the intensity. We just have to front up in the collision area and although we did not win the game, we are building on the finished product and we have work to do before England."
Coach Declan Kidney shared similar views. "These are the games we want to play. Theres no point hiding away and challenging yourself against something (less testing) to give yourself a false lift.
"These players are big enough; they know what it takes to win. It hurts at the moment because we try to win every single game that we play. We just have to go away and learn from it to get ourselves ready for next week," he said.
France coach Marc Lievremont had made 13 changes to the side that beat Ireland a week before, and while no doubt happy with the win, he was dissatisfied with the way that his team allowed Ireland back in the game.
"We are not shouting too much about the two victories over Ireland. We have to do better individually and collectively. I almost regret the Trinh-Duc try because it allowed us to manage the game and there were no interesting moments for us. I expected more."
He has now named his 30 man squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Forwards: Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), William Servat (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Franais), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Pascal Pap (Stade Franais), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Mtro), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Raphal Lakafia (Biarritz), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Backs: Morgan Parra (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), David Skrela (Clermont), Franois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Fabrice Estebanez (Brive), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), David Marty (Perpignan), Aurlien Rougerie (Clermont), Maxime Mdard (Toulouse), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Cdric Heymans (Bayonne), Damien Traille (Biarritz)