Ireland rugby coach Declan Kidney firmly believes his players have the right stuff, despite their performance last weekend in Rome.

And Kidney's defiant act of faith may be just the boost the team needs when they face Grand Slam champions France in Lansdowne Road in Dublin on Sunday.

The time has come for Ireland to produce a performance worthy of the World Cup in seven months' time and the team knows it.

Ireland's victory over Wales last March was an awesome movement and a reminder of the strength and spirit of this team, and now Kidney and the nation are hoping for an equally impressive, compelling display this weekend. To do less could lead to the kind of deflated loss that Ireland suffered against France last year.

The weekend game will see Jamie Heaslip restored to the Number 8 position. It's Heaslip's second game since Christmas, and now that he's fully recovered from a bruised ankle he sustained in December, the players reinstatement was never in doubt.

Coach Kidney knows that ruing to simply contain the French will backfire if Marc Lievremont's side is on form.

But the 25 tackles France missed in their 34-21 win over Scotland last weekend suggests there is space to exploit and Kidney aims to lunge at it.

"We have to have the courage to go out and play," Kidney told the press. "With the way the laws of the game are now, if you stand off them and try and do damage limitation you are going to get opened up. So, we need the courage to go and play. These fellahs are hugely self-critical and sometimes they just need to relax and trust themselves and just go out and play. That's what I'm trusting they will do on Sunday."