O'Brien: No excuses for Ireland
Sean O'Brien insists Ireland will only have themselves to blame if they fail to overcome France in Sunday's rearranged RBS 6 Nations showdown in Paris.
The Irish return to the French capital for the second time in three weeks following the postponement of the original fixture because of a frozen pitch. Since then Ireland have routed Italy 42-10 to give their confidence a timely lift as they seek to claim their first victory at the Stade de France for 12 years.
"We're definitely better prepared this time. We had the two weeks off which gave us time to gel with each other," forward O'Brien said. "We've worked on our defence and attack so we can't have any excuses for not fronting up and playing to our potential."
He added: "Our performance against Italy was good because they aren't pushovers. It was hard to break them down. We've worked on a couple of areas of defence that weren't up to scratch.
"We definitely took a step forwards in attack and against France we need to go a little bit harder at the ruck. France are good and they live off mistakes. You can't cough up easy ball to them, that's when they're at their most dangerous. We can't give them space and allow them to use that offload game that they love so much."
Ireland have an appalling record in Paris with their triumph in 2000 their first since 1972.
An explosive hat-trick from a 21-year-old Brian O'Driscoll stunned France on a memorable day for Irish rugby and O'Brien insists memories of that occasion will be drawn upon to inspire their assault on the Stade de France.
"Looking back at stuff like that gives you a little kick and incentive to win," the reigning European player of the year said.
"Our motivation is to go out and a join them and that's what we'll be looking to do."