Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Cullen: Ireland must 'stand up'

Leo Cullen

Leo Cullen is eager for Ireland to crank up preparations for the World Cup when they face France in Bordeaux.

A sold-out Stade Chaban Delmas hosts the second - and undoubtedly toughest - of Ireland's four warm-up internationals this month. Cullen, the Leinster lock, enjoys playing in the south of France but admits there is much at stake during the match.

"It's a real challenge. It's the same travelling there in the Heineken Cup, it's a tough place to get wins," he said.

"I enjoy the atmosphere and the challenge. When you're younger, you can find it a bit daunting but as you get older, you kind of relish those challenges.

"It's a big opportunity for a lot of players individually but also for the team to build momentum heading into the next few weeks."

Cullen insists Ireland must be ready to meet fire with fire when they face Marc Lievremont's side, adding: "They're obviously going to come pretty aggressively at scrum time and we need to stand up in that area.

"I'm sure they're going to be pretty ferocious when they come out, they're playing at home, it's not a ground they play in very often and Bordeaux is a rugby town as well.

"No doubt they'll be pretty passionate when they play there and we need to be up for that assault early.

"If we stand off them it will be a pretty long day at the office, so it's important that we go into the thick of the battle pretty early on, and take it from there. But we can't be sitting back. They're going to be confrontational in the way they play, no doubt.

"They've had a short build up as well. They announced their final squad a few weeks back so they're all gunning to be in a position where they're starting going into the World Cup."

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