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Paul O'Connell Photo by: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Paul O’Connell issues stark Paris warning to Ireland rugby team

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Paul O'Connell Photo by: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Irish captain Paul O’Connell has warned his team to cut-out the silly mistakes when they face France in Paris on Sunday.

The game is crucial to Ireland’s slim title hopes after a win over Italy and a loss to Wales in their opening two matches.

O’Connell is acutely aware that Ireland have won only once in the French capital since 1982 and knows there can be no room for error in the re-arranged game.

“We’ve given them soft tries in my time since I’ve been there,” said the captain after five defeats in his five appearances at the Stade de France.

“That’s been the most common theme and you just can’t do that in Paris. We’ve certainly played some good rugby there, but usually after we’ve left ourselves with too big a mountain to climb.

“Maybe we’ve tried a little bit too hard in the past. In the first half-hour against Italy last weekend it wasn’t a great performance, but we were patient.

“Against France we must play in the right parts of the pitch. A big part of it for us will be eradicating those errors that can cost you momentum. You have to take you best game over there.

“If we play to our potential we can beat anyone, but reaching that level is the challenge.”

France were handed a scare in their 23-17 win over Scotland last weekend and O’Connell will take note of the evidence provided by that game.

“France seemed to have a an awful lot of confidence in their scrum against Scotland,” he added.

“They didn’t quick tap on any of the free-kicks they won - they went for the scrum. It’s obviously a massive part of their game.

“They probably didn’t have as much ball as they’d have liked, but when they did they looked incredibly dangerous.

“Whenever Scotland scored they seemed to have another gear to go into. That will be more reflective of the France team we’ll see this weekend.

“They are a top-class team. Scotland had them under pressure but when France get a chance, they’re deadly.”

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