INPHO/Dan Sheridan

O'Driscoll: It's the performance that matters against France, not the result

While stressing the importance of Saturday’s clash against France, Brian O’Driscoll is quick to point out that the result is essentially meaningless.

BRIAN O’DRISCOLL SAYS that the result of Ireland’s second warm-up test against France on Saturday is of secondary importance, and that match practice is far more crucial ahead of the World Cup.

The 32-year-old, speaking after being named in Declan Kidney’s starting XV, feels that the team should be stronger than they were in the recent losses to Marc Lièvremont’s side and Scotland, but says that they don’t need to peak until September.

“If we didn’t win a warm-up game, it wouldn’t be ideal, but it’s not the World Cup now. The World Cup is in three weeks’ time,” he insisted.

“I think there is certainly an onus on trying to win the game, but because some guys are coming in for their first start, it’s about playing your way into the game and playing your way into your season essentially. We’ll try and get that performance again to take care of the result.”

O’Driscoll is once again partnered with Gordon D’Arcy in the team’s midfield and the Irish captain is aware that he will have to take on extra defensive work, given his Leinster team-mate’s lack of action recently.

D’Arce has a great workrate but he’s obviously had possibly less of a preseason than I have, so I’m going to have to work on his behalf, particularly from a defensive point of view.

“You mightn’t always see the amount of times that we’re trying to split the two and get on the ends of the defensive system, and he does a lot of that work getting across so I’ll have to really share the workload with him and work on his behalf.”

O’Driscoll also spoke of his relief at being able to participate in, as opposed to watch, Ireland’s preparations for such a big tournament.

“It’s great to be back. It’s always difficult sitting out any test matches. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. When the team’s going well, they’re not missing you but when the team hasn’t won over the last couple of weeks, you feel as though you could give them a dig out.”

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