Ireland will jet off to the world champions’ homeland in June for a three-Test series and, after a third-place Six Nations finish, the 25-year-old says Declan Kidney’s side must hit the high notes every game.
They recorded victories over Italy and Scotland in the tournament but let a 17-6 half-time lead slip to draw in France, and they were narrowly edged out 23-21 to Wales in their opener.
But it was the final match defeat in England, by 30-6, which hangs heaviest over back row O’Brien and his teammates and he admits Ireland cannot afford to perform that badly in the summer.
“I wouldn’t agree that this is a team on the slide,” O’Brien told the Belfast Independent.
“We’ve shown what we can do at times and it’s just getting that consistency.
“The England game was a hard loss to take and that was the most disappointed I’ve been in an Ireland jersey. That was pretty embarrassing and we’re not too pleased about it.
“In this championship we’ve only beaten Italy and Scotland and that’s just not good enough for this group of players.
“If we play to our potential week-in, week-out, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
“We must take a long look at ourselves over the next couple of months until we come back together for the tour.”
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