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Ireland v Samoa: O'Driscoll desperate to taste victory

Brian O'Driscoll says Ireland will battle to bring to an end their losing streak when they face Samoa at the Aviva Stadium today.

The Irish enter the second of their autumn internationals hoping to avoid a fifth successive Test defeat and their seventh in all matches.

O'Driscoll revealed recent results have been discussed within the camp and insisted it is time to turn the corner.

“Of course we are conscious of the run of defeats,” he said. “Reference has been made to it by ourselves and it's definitely in our thoughts, but at the same time there's nothing we can do about the four Test defeats.

“We can only focus on Samoa and right the wrongs of the previous few games when we've let ourselves down. In the early years it used to be about playing for Ireland, now it's about winning for Ireland.

“Playing's not good enough any more — you must experience those good feelings of what it's like in the dressing room when you've won a tough Test match.”

An, albeit unlikely, Samoa victory would be a disastrous setback for Ireland during World Cup year and coach Declan Kidney fears his side may be too eager in their attempts to put things right.

“We know the areas where we need to improve but my concern is that the players are so keen to get it right,” he said.

“We must temper that keenness and believe in ourselves, stick to what we've done in training. There's nearly too much effort and that's the one thing we'll have to temper heading into the match.”

Samoa are positioned outside the top 10 of the world rankings but have named a formidable line-up containing nine players from the Aviva Premiership or Top 14.

Little should be read into the 10 changes made by Ireland following their 23-21 defeat by South Africa as they are now stronger in several key positions.

The contest should be tight until the final quarter when Ireland will expect to make inroads.

“Samoa have come off the back of winning the Pacific Nations Cup with a lot of their current line-up missing,” said Kidney. “They're a side that comes together in World Cup year with the backing of International Rugby Board.

“They'll be very keen to start the autumn well and start building momentum.”

Belfast Telegraph


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