Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll has insisted there is no need to press the World Cup panic button after his team’s third defeat in a row.
France powered their way to a second win over Ireland in a week at the Aviva Stadium but the centre remains realistic ahead of the New Zealand tests to come.
“This isn’t the World Cup yet, we are not in the group stages yet and there is no one in the Irish dressing room pressing the panic button,” claimed O’Driscoll after the 26-22 defeat to the French.
“People can talk whatever way they want but we are still trying to build on the final product ahead of the World Cup.”
O’Driscoll did admit that Ireland had contributed to their own downfall after a blistering start.
He said: “The defeat is disappointing after we started so well but you can’t play for the first 15 minutes and the last 10 at this level and expect to win.
“We made some stupid errors. They stepped it up in the second-half and we couldn’t live with their clinical nature as they closed the game out well.”
Ireland coach Declan Kidney was left to count the cost of defeat as Felix Jones (foot) and Cian Healy (toe) were carried off the Lansdowne Road pitch.
“Felix is the one we need to worry about,” revealed Kidney afterwards.
“One of our own players stood on Cian’s toe in training two weeks ago and a French player managed to do the same thing but he should be okay.”
Kidney will name his World Cup squad on Monday and insisted: “Every position is up for grabs. Rugby is the ultimate team game and we are not going to single out players for one defeat.
“We will make the selections throughout the team as best fits. It won’t be easy for some players but that is what we have to do.”
England are next up for Ireland in Dublin next Saturday before the team depart for the World Cup 72 hours later.
“These are the games we want to play,” insisted Kidney as he awaits his first win of the new season and a much needed RWC fillip.
“The players are big enough to take a defeat like this and to know what it takes to win. It hurts at the moment because we want to win every game we play but we will learn from it and get ready for England next week.”
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks