IRELAND FULL BACK Rob Kearney believes his side are now better placed to defeat France in Sunday’s rearranged Six Nations fixture.
If the Irish prevail it will be only the second time in 40 years they have done so in Paris, and Kearney said their win over Italy has made for a much more confident side than the one that was to tackle France before the game was postponed earlier this month due to a frozen pitch.
“We’re in a much better place than maybe we were two or three weeks ago,” Kearney said. ”Tries win games and to score five of them against Italy was really pleasing.
“We’re starting to get more clinical in the green zone area of play, and while we were too guilty of playing too much in our own half, it was pleasing that when we did get into the right areas we took our opportunities.”
Kearney is back in training after recovering from a groin strain and said their buoyant win over Italy was playing on their minds more so than their poor record in Paris.
“I don’t think we need to do something special,” he said.
“That’s where we fall down sometimes when we play in France. 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. When you’re playing a team of the calibre of France you can’t do that and expect to win. We have to start strongly on Sunday.”
France are second in the Six Nations table having won their opening two games against Italy and Scotland, while Ireland are fourth with one win from two matches, following their narrow opening loss to Wales.