Six Nations 2012: Paul O’Connell targets historic Irish win in France

Paul O'Connell is challenging Ireland to beat France for the first time in 12 years when the two sides meet at the Stade de France

brian o'driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick the last time Ireland won in Paris Photo: Paul Walsh

brian o'driscoll

Paul O’Connell wants Ireland to secure a rare victory against France and get their Six Nations campaign back on track in Paris on Saturday night.

Ireland suffered a controversial 23-21 defeat by Wales last weekend in Dublin, and Declan Kidney’s side need to beat favourites France if the Irish harbour any hopes of winning the championship.

And captain O’Connell is confident Ireland can earn their first victory in the French capital since 2000.

“It is frustrating not to have done it,” said O’Connell in relation to never winning in France. “But the provinces have done it [won in France] in the Heineken Cup and we certainly have the team to do it.

“The French are a massive challenge and looked very good at times against Italy, but we have the players. After a disappointing result, guys tried to lift themselves more for the week ahead.

“We can’t afford to look back and sulk, we need to address what we have to address and move on and the lads have done that really well.”

The 32-year-old believes it is important Ireland forget about their demoralising loss to Wales at the Aviva Stadium, but the skipper urged his side to cut out the errors which undermined their display.

“We can’t afford to look back, we have to look forward,” said O’Connell. “We really needed to address a few little things that put us in that position against Wales, but we have moved on and we’re looking to the next game.”

Ireland: Kearney; Bowe, Earls, D’Arcy, Trimble, Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Ferris, O’Brien, Heaslip.

Replacements: Cronin, Court, Ryan, O’Mahony, Reddan, O’Gara, McFadden.

France: Medard; Clerc, Rougerie, Fofana, Malzieu, Trinh-Duc, Parra; Poux, Szarzewski, Mas, Pape, Maestri, Dusautoir, Hardinorquy, Picamoles.

Replacements: Servat, Debaty, Nallet, Bonnaire, Dupuy, Beauxis, Mermoz.

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