Irish captain Paul O’Connell has warned his players that they cannot afford any repeat of their Welsh mistakes when they face France in a freezing Paris on Saturday night.

Ireland have only won once since 1972 in the French capital and go into the game on the back of last Sunday’s 23-21 defeat to Wales.

“Our record in Paris is certainly a frustrating factor,” said the Irish captain as the team flew to France on Friday. “You can’t give France anything easily over there and that’s what we did against Wales.

“We gave away easy yards and turned over possession too easily. That’s nearly a blueprint for not winning in Paris.

“France gather momentum when they’re playing well, so we can’t afford to concede that momentum. We must be accurate and enthusiastic.

“It will be a massive challenge because they’re an excellent side. They looked very good at times against Italy last weekend. But when you look at our team and the experience we have, we can certainly do it.”


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Temperatures have plummeted in Paris all week and could be as low as minus seven by kick-off on Saturday night.

The French are adamant the game will go ahead as planned and Ireland coach Declan Kidney is reluctant to worry about it at this moment in time.

He said: “We’ve not discussed the temperature. We’ll have to wait until we step off the plane and feel it.
 “It’s one of those uncontrollables. We just have to work off the premise that it will be the same for them as it is for us.”

Kidney has made one change to the Irish team that lost to Wales with Munster’s Keith Earls coming in at outside centre in place of Fergus McFadden.

“It’s tough on Fergus losing out because he did a good job for us on Sunday, but Keith is worthy of a start,” said Kidney.