O'Sullivan asks misfiring Ireland to make amends

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The Independent Online

Eddie O'Sullivan, the Ireland coach, hopes his players will respond to his vote of confidence by seizing the chance to redeem themselves against France on Saturday.

The Irish laboured to a 26-16 victory over Italy in their Six Nations Championship opener at Lansdowne Road last Saturday, forcing O'Sullivan to reconsider his options ahead of yesterday's team announcement. However, he has resisted the urge to make changes, instead keeping faith with the same starting line-up and bench as Ireland travel to Paris to face the French.

"We had a look at the team and we could have forced a few changes if we'd wanted to but you'd be victimising individuals," O'Sullivan said. "No one did exceptionally well or exceptionally badly. In these situations you have to give guys confidence by saying 'go out there and prove it was a glitch.' It wasn't a very good performance but it was collectively poor. We need to improve when we get to Paris."

There could be one enforced change, however, with the No 8 Denis Leamy due to appear before a Six Nations disciplinary hearing tonight. Leamy has been cited for an alleged stamping incident involving Italy's Paul Griffen and if found guilty will face a ban of between six and 12 weeks, ruling him out of the remainder of the championship.

Anthony Foley, who was dropped for the November internationals and has not appeared for Ireland since, is on standby.

Brian O'Driscoll was accused of stamping on Fabio Ongaro by Italy but was not cited for the offence so is free to captain Ireland for the 24th time.

* Wales are confident their prop Adam Jones will be fit for Sunday's match with Scotland in Cardiff. The tight-head left the field with a leg haematoma during Saturday's defeat to England, and the Welsh scrum creaked when Gethin Jenkins replaced him.

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