Friday 24 March 2017

Video: O'Connell desperate to break Paris duck

Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND are determined to "move on" from last weekend's controversial loss to Wales, with captain Paul O'Connell adamant they have the team to secure only a second win over France in Paris for 40 years.

Stephen Ferris was penalised, yellow carded and later cited for his tackle on Wales' Ian Evans last Sunday -- with Leigh Halfpenny then kicking the winning penalty -- only for the flanker to be exonerated on Wednesday night.

It means Ireland lost a game they could have won, but O'Connell said the players have parked their disappointment and are channelling all their energies into causing an upset at the Stade de France tomorrow night.

"We can't afford to look back, we have to look forward," said O'Connell. "We really needed to address a few little things that put us in that position (against Wales), but we have moved on and we're looking to the next game."

O'Connell has never tasted victory with Ireland in Paris, but says the potential for a big upset is there.

"It is frustrating not to have done it," he said. "But the provinces have done it (won in France) in the Heineken Cup and we certainly have the team to do it.

"The French are a massive challenge and looked very good at times against Italy, but we have the players. After a disappointing result, guys tried to lift themselves more for the week ahead.

"We can't afford to look back and sulk, we need to address what we have to address and move on and the lads have done that really well."

Keith Earls, who was forced to pull out of the Wales game after his new-born daughter fell ill, is the only change to last weekend's team, with Fergus McFadden dropping to the bench.

"It is great for Keith to be back and that his little girl is well," O'Connell said. "Fergus has been brilliant since he came into the squad and, hopefully, will do well if he comes in."

With the French authorities insisting the game will go ahead at 9.0 local time (8.0 Irish) despite freezing temperatures, France have been forced into one late change, Morgan Parra starting at scrum-half for the injured Dimitri Yachvili, with Julien Dupuy coming onto the bench.

Irish Independent

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