O’Brien: We need to start better to beat France

Sean O’Brien feels that Ireland have to start with more intensity this coming Saturday if they are to turn around the 19-12 defeat to France in Bordeaux last weekend.

The Leinster back row, who was recently named Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year, believes that there is huge improvement in the team and feels that if lessons are learned from the defeat people will see a different Ireland team at the Aviva on Saturday evening.

“”I suppose we’ll have to start a lot quicker. We were playing catch up after 25 minutes and it’s hard to play catch up against any international side. So we’ll have to start well and sort out our ruck probably as well.

“In the first 10 or 15 minutes we were kind of like, ‘should we go in and compete or should we not?’. There was a bit of indecision there by a lot of us.

“If we sort out a few things like that, a few of the basic things and hold on to the ball, we should be good.”

The reigning ERC European Player of the Year is not concerned about the recent lack of tries that have been a hallmark of Ireland’s opening two warm up games and feels that Ireland are not too far away from clicking.

“I wouldn’t t say it’s a worry at all. If you look at the last couple of games we played against France, we’ve outscored them on the try sheet a couple of times,” explained the 24-year-old forward.

“It’s just about getting our attack right and if we hold on to the ball, the tries will come.”

Having enjoyed a breakout season last year with both Ireland and Leinster O’Brien is looking forward to the season ahead starting with making the 30 man squad for the World Cup.

He said “I’m feeling strong and fast. I’m happy enough with the way it’s gone so far and a couple of games now and I’ll get match fit.

“You can do all the running and all the pre-season that you like, but it’s actually getting out there and playing the games that gets you properly fit. Match fitness is one thing and running around for a couple of hours is another thing.”


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