Wednesday 17 January 2018

Losing is not an option - O'Brien

Sean O'Brien, centre, has sounded a pre-match cry of defiance ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with France
Sean O'Brien, centre, has sounded a pre-match cry of defiance ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations clash with France

Sean O'Brien has demanded Ireland produce a performance of controlled ferocity when they host France at the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.

The RBS 6 Nations rivals have failed to justify their pre-championship billing as title contenders and instead find themselves jostling to avoid the wooden spoon. Victory would prevent Ireland from finishing bottom of the table for the first time since 1998 - their final match is against Italy next Saturday - and O'Brien has sounded a pre-match cry of defiance.

"To win any international you have to beat up the opposition," the Leinster openside said. "Physically we'll have to go to that place where it's manic and they don't know what's coming at them. Both teams need to win, but if you're desperate you can do some silly things."

He added: "It's about having a clear mind and being aware of the circumstances you're in at any given time. We know what we have to do against France - losing is not an option. There is a pride element and we're playing at home.

"If we win the last two games we leave ourselves in a good enough place, hopefully. That starts this weekend. We need to come out of the traps nice and hard. After the disappointment of losing to England and Scotland, everyone's up for it.

"I don't care about how France have been doing or where they finish up, it's about us, this team and this squad.

"All I'm worried about is making sure we're in the right place this weekend."

France are suffering even more than Ireland having lost to Italy, Wales and England, although the shoots of recovery were evident at Twickenham.

If they lose today, seven matches will have progressed without a win - their worst championship sequence since 1927.

"In sport, anything can happen. That's what makes it interesting and why fans pay to buy a ticket," captain Thierry Dusautoir said. "You never know who is going to win. I'm not thinking about losing. If it happens, it happens. Maybe at 7pm we'll talk about our record."

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