Six Nations: Sean O'Brien threatens France with a trip to the manic side

Ireland must adopt a win-at-all-costs approach to avoid the wooden spoon

The Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien has declared that "losing is not an option" when Ireland attempt to rescue a deflating Six Nations campaign by inflicting further embarrassment on France in Dublin today.

Two teams who, before the tournament began, were expected to challenge for the title instead find themselves in a desperate struggle to avoid the wooden spoon.

It has been 15 years since Ireland finished bottom of the table, but that is the fate that may await them in Rome next Saturday if they fail to topple France, who are themselves yet to win a match in this year's tournament. History is stacked against them, though, as they have bettered Les Bleus only once in 13 meetings spanning a decade.

A self-destructive streak, combined with an awful injury list, has seen a Six Nations campaign that exploded into life in Cardiff five weeks ago unravel alarmingly, moving O'Brien to demand an end to Ireland's malaise.

"We know what we have to do against France – losing is not an option," the Lions contender said. "There is a pride element and we're playing at home. If we win the last two games we leave ourselves in a good enough place. Hopefully that starts this weekend.

"We need to come out of the traps nice and hard. After the disappointment of losing to England and Scotland, everyone's up for it. I don't care about how France have been doing or where they finish up, it's about us, this team and this squad. All I'm worried about is making sure we're in the right place this weekend."

O'Brien says Ireland have adopted a by-any-means-necessary approach to the France game, adding: "To win any international you have to beat up the opposition. Physically, we'll have to go to that place where it's manic and they don't know what's coming at them."

Jamie Heaslip, the Ireland captain, has admitted his team must shoulder some of the blame for the muted atmosphere at their home ground during the Six Nations.

Alan Quinlan, the former Ireland back row, was highly critical of the Aviva Stadium supporters' lack of interest before the defeat by England four weeks ago. But Heaslip believes it is the players who must set the tone when the Championship's two most disappointing sides collide.

"The players always feel as though it's a great crowd when we come here. Maybe we didn't give them a lot to cheer about in the England game," Heaslip said. "Hopefully, we'll give them something to cheer about at the game. The crowd here and when we travel is amazing. They're a passionate group, like all Irish people."

If Ireland are feeling dour about this Six Nations campaign, then France are utterly in the doldrums. And Philippe Saint-André, the coach, has admitted he would gladly take an ugly, dull, lifeless performance – as long as it results in a victory.

"The France team has a duty to win in style. But in our current situation I would sign for a 3-0 win straight away," Saint-André said. "You've got to make your own luck. We didn't face up to the situation in the first three matches."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before