Wallace insists raising spirit of Boks conquest can quell early Paris offensive
DAVID WALLACE wants Ireland to rediscover the spirit that drove them to victory over world champions South Africa last November and says it is imperative they do not allow France a head-start in Saturday's Six Nations showdown at the Stade de France.
The Grand Slam champions have not won in Paris since Brian O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick of tries on the way to victory in 2000 and have been blown away by France's early scoring on their last two visits. Wallace, who picked up the man-of-the-match award in Ireland's 29-11 win over Italy on Saturday, is ready to make up for past disappointments.
"It's a very difficult place to go and play," said Wallace. "We've got to take confidence from the way the provinces have gone there and won in France. This is a step-up again but we have to use that for motivation and confidence.
"You can't let them get up a head of steam in any part of the game," he added. "There is one (defeat) that stands out in my mind where if we had five more minutes we felt we could have taken it (in 2006). We had a disaster of a first half where they got tries from bounces of the ball and stuff like that.
"It's not 'fighting spirit' per se, it's fighting to the end. Players growing up would have watched Irish teams in the past who always had that, and it's something you want to emulate.
"It's part of our game, even in the professional era. It's very relevant, (forwards coach) Gert Smal referred to it, that spirit we had when we played South Africa. It's good to know we have it in our armoury. There's no doubt it's a difficult place to go but we're up for that challenge."