BRIAN O’DRISCOLL has admitted that Ireland must beat South Africa and Argentina in the upcoming November internationals to repair their standing in international rugby after their demolition Down Under.
THE 33-year-old is still haunted by Ireland’s 60-0 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand in June and knows that only two significant scalps will do in November.
“We’ve got to nail something,” O’Driscoll said. “Because, lately, we’ve just flattered to deceive. To me, we need to win both of the big ones (South Africa and Argentina) in November.
“It’s hard to say what’s been going wrong because we were incredibly consistent.
“We had a series of seconds in the Six Nations before we eventually won it in ’09 and I don’t know why that’s slipped away.”
O’Driscoll believes that the Irish squad has to deliver performances above and beyond what they are achieving with their provinces.
“I’m not saying people have taken their eye off playing international rugby, but we really need to refocus and realise that Ireland is the ultimate,” he added.
“I’m just putting this out there myself. Maybe it’s too easy to kind of go, ‘Oh well, if the international doesn’t go well, we still have the provinces to go back to . . .’
“You can’t have that mentality playing international rugby.
“You’ve got to have the mentality of Ireland first, provincial set-up thereafter.
“I’m not saying it should be way down the pecking order, it’s next. But it has to be the ultimate to play for your country.”
O’Driscoll thinks that since Alan Gaffney’s departure as backs coach last year there have been issues regarding the Irish attack.
“We’ve spoken about this since New Zealand,” he says, “and I think we just need to get clarity on who the point of reference is for our attacking game.
“In New Zealand, I think we could just have gotten our detail a little bit better.
“We’ve got to look at making sure that everyone is getting the same message. But, when you have Declan (Kidney) overseeing things, Les (Kiss) doing the backs, Gert (Smal) doing the forwards and Les also doing defence and you want to ask a particular question about an area of general attack, there’s a number of different people that you could go to there.
“So it’s making sure that we’re all – coaches and players – collectively singing off the same hymn sheet. And even then, there’s a need to use the knowledge of someone like Mervyn Murphy who, from the video analysis point of view, has seen more rugby than anyone.
“He has huge knowledge and you have to try to delve into that too and use it.
“One thing I’ve learnt is that you can get away with certain things at provincial level.
“But your detail has to be very, very accurate at international level.
“Otherwise you get shown up.”