Thursday 18 January 2018

Eliminate errors or we’ll be ‘torn apart’

David Kelly

David Kelly

Brian O'Driscoll has called on stuttering Ireland to embrace the "fear factor" against France this weekend and cut out the errors -- or face the danger of being "torn apart," writes David Kelly.

O'Driscoll was one of several Irish players guilty of glaring howlers during last week's unimpressive opening-day win against the Italians. "The guy in possession has got to look after the ball," slammed the captain, who was the first to admit that he was at fault for some of the worst cock-ups in Rome. "A huge amount of errors were down to individuals. Sure, there was pressure. We lost our patience and tried to score too early.

"There's a big onus on ourselves this week. I know myself the errors I made. They may be uncharacteristic, but they still happened.

"We can't expect to have a slow start and then get going. If we start slowly this weekend we'll get torn apart. Sometimes you need to play with a fear factor which gets you out of the blocks nice and early."

As expected, Declan Kidney restored fit-again Jamie Heaslip to an otherwise unchanged line-up to face the French, displacing his Leinster colleague Sean O'Brien to the blindside. Denis Leamy's demotion removes Shane Jennings from the bench. "If we go out with damage limitation in mind, we're going to get opened up," warned Kidney. "We need to have the courage to play, to continue to do it. Our guys are hugely self-critical, but sometimes they need to relax and just play.

"I wasn't satisfied with the way we played against Italy. We can play a lot better. But the players performed in such a way that meant they deserved another go.

"Sometimes you need to back your players and after the way they went about their business, that's what I'm doing."

Irish Independent

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