Ireland preparing for France test

 

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

Life is not about to get any easier for the 2009 Six Nations champions and Grand Slam winners.

Beaten 23-21 at home by Wales yesterday 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.

The good news for coach Declan Kidney, who came under fire in sections of the Irish media today following Wales' dramatic late victory, is that he has no major injury concerns.

Centre Keith Earls is due to rejoin the squad after missing the Wales game for personal reasons, with Kidney announcing his team on Thursday.

"We've buckets to work on and six days to do it. I know we are a lot better than that," 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.

"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 today 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."

There was further gloom for Ireland today when the International Rugby Board released their latest world rankings list.

The defeat against Wales saw Ireland drop two places to eighth, their lowest position since the IRB rankings began, one position lower than they dropped to after last October's World Cup demise at Welsh hands.

Wales, meanwhile, moved up to sixth, one spot behind England and five clear of Scotland, who have dropped outside of the world's top 10.

France, conquerors of Italy two days ago, remain third behind world champions and runaway leaders New Zealand, while Australia lie second.

PA

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee