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Ireland preparing for France test

Ireland's RBS 6 Nations squad will reconvene on Wednesday to prepare for a major character test - tackling tournament favourites France in Paris.

Beaten 23-21 at home by Wales on Sunday just four months after suffering World Cup elimination against the same opponents, Ireland's tournament will effectively be over before it has barely started should they lose at the Stade de France on Saturday night.

"We've buckets to work on and six days to do it. I know we are a lot better than that," coach Declan Kidney said. "We put ourselves under a lot of pressure defensively. We had to defend for 60%-plus of the game, and if you do that, you are going to ask for trouble."

He added: "You have to give credit to Wales. Sometimes it is not just all down to you, but there are some aspects that we can be disappointed with individually.

"We have to be smart enough to do the work that needs to be done, but wise enough to understand that it is a six-day turnaround."

The odds are stacked against Ireland avoiding a second successive tournament defeat, especially given a startling statistic that shows just one victory over Les Bleus in France since 1972.

One Irish newspaper and television pundit claimed on Monday that Ireland were lurching "lemming-like towards the abyss," and there can be little doubt that the heat is on Kidney.

"We put ourselves on the back foot, and it is tough to win when the try-count is 3-2 against you," Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip said.

"Wales were good. They retained the ball very well for long periods, and they got three tries.

"When we had the ball we put a lot of pressure on them, but they held strong and when they had the ball they were dangerous for long periods."


From Belfast Telegraph