Paul O'Connell wants more from Irish pack against France

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell wants the players to raise the bar with an improved performance against France on Sunday
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell wants the players to raise the bar with an improved performance against France on Sunday

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell is demanding a much-improved performance from the pack when they face France in Sunday's Pool D decider in Cardiff.

His in-form young second row partner Iain Henderson revealed the skipper has fired up the forwards by highlighting their failings so far in the World Cup.

"We had a forwards' meeting and Paul pointed out all the things we've got to work on," said the Ulster lock.

Victory on Sunday will determine who goes through as Pool winners.

Both teams are already assured of places in the quarter-finals but Sunday's winners will avoid the All Blacks in the last eight, with Argentina their likely opponents.

Ireland were poor in Sunday's 16-9 win over Italy and O'Connell has outlined every deficiency in Ireland's pack, despite three straight victories in Pool D.

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Iain Henderson

"Everyone's quite clear what they have to do better and what they have to do more of," explained Henderson.

"That's not just from the Italy game, but from earlier in the World Cup too and even then against the French in the Six Nations."

France boast one of the meatiest packs at this World Cup, so the fast-improving Henderson and his locking partner O'Connell must bring physicality and intensity to Sunday's tight exchanges.

"We've beaten France the last two times we've played them, but it's been close," said Henderson.

"We know just how dangerous the French are at World Cups, but we get our game right and our set-piece running, I hope we can get the upper hand."

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