Saturday 24 February 2018

Mike Ross keen to make amends in Paris

Mike Ross Donnacha Ryan after defeat to Wales on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile
Mike Ross Donnacha Ryan after defeat to Wales on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile

Duncan Bech

IRELAND prop Mike Ross accepts his team cannot afford to underperform for a second successive weekend when they meet France on Saturday night.

The Irish head to Paris, where they have prevailed just once since 1972, needing victory to rescue an RBS 6 Nations campaign that is in danger of unravelling after only two rounds.

Coach Declan Kidney names his team at lunchtime today knowing defeat to Les Bleus would see the scrutiny of his stewardship intensify.

And Ross insists the players understand their role in the drive to atone for Sunday's 23-21 home loss against Wales.

"We're pretty disappointed with the way the game against Wales turned out," the Leinster tighthead prop said.

"We've resolved this week to put right a lot of the things that went wrong. We need to step up and start delivering.

"Losing the way we did was hard to take, but in rugby you can't dwell upon previous failures for too long because the next game arrives so quickly.

"We have an opportunity to rectify what went wrong and that's something we're keen to do.

"Paris can be bit of a bear-pit and we can't afford to be off our game or we'll face a hiding.

"Just like in the Heineken Cup, French teams seem to step it up 15-20pc when they play at home.

"The Stade de France is a tough place to go and we're under no illusion of what faces us. If we get it wrong, we're in for a long evening.

"If we lose on Saturday then it's fair to say the championship is gone.

"I can't see a team losing two matches but winning the Six Nations. A clearer picture will emerge after this weekend."

Stephen Ferris will travel to the Stade de France after being cleared of tip-tackling Wales lock Ian Evans.

Ferris faced a hearing in London yesterday after being cited for the challenge on Evans in the final minute at the Aviva Stadium.

Following analysis of the video evidence and consideration of the explanation for the tackle, the three-man independent Six Nations disciplinary committee chose not to uphold the citing.

Ferris reacted to the decision on Twitter, saying: "Thank goodness that is all over. Happy man."

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