O'Connell: We can turn around form
Paul O'Connell believes the bitterly disappointing build-up to the World Cup could yet prove critical in Ireland's development.
The Irish slumped to their fourth successive defeat of the month with Saturday's 20-9 thrashing by England at Aviva Stadium. It ensures the squad will be at a low ebb when they depart for New Zealand, and thrashing England five months ago to deny them the Grand Slam is now a distant memory.
But O'Connell insists recent events could yet prove a turning point, and said: "Beating England in March was good for us but it came on the back of a few disappointing performances and knowing what we needed to do. We're probably back in that place now. We know what we need to work on."
He added: "If the disappointment of the last four weeks puts us in a position where we can put things right, that won't be a bad thing."
O'Connell is convinced Ireland still have the capacity to have an impact at the World Cup.
"Absolutely we can turn this around," he said. "It's been a disappointing four weeks but we're confident that when we get to New Zealand we'll be able to perform.
"We have an excellent squad and excellent players, there's no denying that.
"We may not have produced our best form over the last few weeks but I've no doubt we can perform in New Zealand.
"Guys are disappointed but morale won't be particularly affected by what's happened.
"With the experience we have in the dressing room and among the coaching staff, I believe we can produce."