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French lock Nallet casts doubt on Ireland's credentials

Venue: Stade de France Date: Saturday, 13 February Kick-off: 1630 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online; Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and BBC Radio Ulster MW; Live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website

Lionel Nallet
Lionel Nallet says Ireland's game does not make him jump

France lock Lionel Nallet has cast doubt on Ireland's credentials as being a genuinely world-class team ahead of Saturday's Six Nations clash in Paris.

Nallet dubbed the Irish as "effective" but was far from gushing in his description of Declan Kidney's side.

"Their game does not make me jump," said Nallet.

"They are a European reference since they last won the tournament. But we're here, too. I do not see them as the best in the world."

Nallet acknowledge that he is expecting a sterner test than that produced by Scotland last weeked as the French clinched a comprehensive 18-9 win at Murrayfield.

"It will be a big fight to deliver face as we face stronger opponents than the Scots, especially up front," he told L'Equipe.

"This will be an interesting team.

"What's certain is that we performed well last weekend, particularly in the scrum. But now we must forget Scotland.


Should Ireland prevail against the Six Nations favourites at the Stade de France, it will be only their third successful visit to the French capital since 1952.

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell says his country's poor record in Paris will be a motivating factor rather than causing any sense of trepidation in the squad.

"If we beat France away from home it will be an incredible feeling and a good box ticked," said last year's Lions captain.

"It would be a highlight in my career. In my earlier years I looked at guys like (former Ireland and Munster prop) Peter Clohessy having very, very tough times over there.

"Irish teams sometimes went to Paris with high hopes, sometimes not, but always came off second best.

"But it's got to the stage now where we believe we can go over there and win. Now we need to actually do it."

O'Connell added that last season's Grand Slam will mean that this year's team is the most confident ever bunch of Irish Six Nations hopefuls to travel to Paris.

"We talk about us being a more confident team than any other Irish side.

"We've always taken talented teams to Paris but now we're going there with a Grand Slam. You can't argue with that.

"We had an okay autumn, the results were good, so we're going over there in a better position than ever before."

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see also
Ferris fitness boost for Ireland
11 Feb 10 |  Irish
Clerc & Palisson win France calls
10 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Earls handed start against France
09 Feb 10 |  Irish
Scotland 9-18 France
07 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
O'Driscoll frustrated after win
06 Feb 10 |  Irish
Ireland 29-11 Italy
06 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union

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