Six Nations: Declan Kidney demands Irish belief in Paris

Paul O'Connell and Imanol Harinordoquy will be in opposition again on Sunday
Paul O'Connell and Imanol Harinordoquy

Declan Kidney says his Ireland team must concentrate on their own display in Sunday's Six Nations clash in Paris and not be intimidated by their dismal record in the French capital.

The Irish have had a terrible run of results in Paris, with a 27-25 victory in 2000 their only win since 1972.

"Sometimes we think that we have to do something different when we don't," said the Ireland coach.

"If we play our own game, it's more than possible to get a result."

Kidney added: "Instead of trying to pull something special out of the bag, we need to concentrate and believe in ourselves.

"If we believe in ourselves we can get a good result."

The Irish face Philippe Saint-Andre's unbeaten side after their original Six Nations showdown, scheduled for 11 February, was postponed shortly before kick-off because of a frozen pitch.

Of Ireland's 22 selected for Sunday's game, only substitute fly-half Ronan O'Gara was involved in the victory in Paris 12 years ago.

Captain Paul O'Connell has felt the pain of past defeats as much as anyone following five unsuccessful visits to the French capital but he refuses to dwell on the record.

"It's a box I'd love to tick. It is a really hard place to come and win," the Munster and Lions lock said.

"France in Paris are a different creature really, an incredibly tough side.

"They seem to save their best rugby for here, particularly their best counter-attacking rugby.

"We've spoken about how in the past certain things have hurt us over here.

"Apart from that there hasn't been a whole lot mentioned of the record. I don't think we're too held down by the baggage."

O'Connell believes that the Irish players must produce the kind of resolve they displayed in beating Australia at last year's World Cup.

"We may not have done it internationally against France in Paris yet, but we're well used to going away from home and winning.

"You look at one or two of our performances in the World Cup last autumn, certainly against Australia.

"It was a good performance and a good barometer for us to have."

O'Connell highlighted the importance of producing a strong start with Ireland having made a habit of handing France unassailable leads in recent years.

"We just need to make sure we do the simple things well and don't do what Ireland teams have done in the past and give France a leg-up.

"That is what teams do here. They kill you from turnovers, they kill you from counter-attacks."

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