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."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor