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Kearney - Strong start key

Ireland full-back Rob Kearney has urged his team-mates to abandon any idea that only an extraordinary performance will be enough to topple France on Sunday.

The Irish travel to Paris for their rescheduled RBS 6 Nations showdown at the Stade de France with a renewed sense of purpose following their victory over Italy and Kearney insists it is critical they do not become overwhelmed by the burden of past failures, instead adopting a more routine approach.

"I don't think we need to do something special. That's where we fall down sometimes when we play in France," he said. "We look at our record and it doesn't fill us with confidence, so maybe we feel as though we have to try something different there. Where we have always fallen down in France is that we've had a very poor start, giving up a big lead 20-30 minutes into the game."

He added: "When you're playing a team of the calibre of France you can't do that and expect to win.

"We always put together a well-rounded second-half performance, but more often than not it's too late.

"This weekend it's hugely important that we don't give them that start."

Kearney insists it will be an invigorated Ireland that departs Dublin this time.

"Naturally we'll travel to Paris with a bit more confidence now that we have a win under our belts," said the Lions full-back. "We're in a much better place than maybe we were two or three weeks ago.

"Tries win games and to score five of them against Italy is really pleasing. We're starting to get more clinical in the green zone area of play.

"We were too guilty of playing too much in our own half, but it's pleasing that when we did get into the right areas we took our opportunities. If we're to beat France then we need to score tries and be clinical against them as well."


From Belfast Telegraph