Ireland v France, Dublin, August 20
Healy focused on victory
August 19, 2011
Ireland will be looking to avenge their defeat to France last weekend © Getty Images
Leinster prop Cian Healy insists Ireland are desperate to topple France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, even though there is nothing riding on the game.
The 19-12 loss in Bordeaux last Saturday will be fresh in the memory when Ireland host their rivals in the second of their two meetings arranged in preparation for the World Cup. Having lost both of warm-up games to date, good performances are required against France and England, who visit Dublin a week later, to establish some momentum for New Zealand.
Balancing the benefits of a confidence-boosting victory over strong opposition is the pressing need for key players Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy and Stephen Ferris to be restored to match fitness after injury lay-offs. While Healy concedes there is nothing tangible on the line over the next eight days, he stresses winning remains imperative.
"This the same as any game. It doesn't matter if it's just before the World Cup or at the end of the season, you still want to win it," he said. "You go out to win. Do we do-or-die need it? No, but every player wants to go out to win and that's a good place for Ireland to be in.
"I don't know if these losing games will affect confidence. I've never been in the situation of going into such a big competition, but when you're on a roll winning games you feel good. You go out to win in an Ireland jersey. You never go out to lose."
Of the northern-hemisphere teams, Ireland have by far the most gruelling build-up to the World Cup. The logic of arranging four internationals is sound and born of the debacle in 2007 when the squad was under-cooked and failed to progress from the group stage as a result.
But scheduling such a demanding set of fixtures could yet backfire as there is a sense they need to win at least one of their remaining two games. Stacked in Ireland's favour is that both are in Dublin and it is probably this that convinced coach Declan Kidney that the series was manageable.
"I wouldn't call it pressure to perform in these games," said Healy. "But you want to play well at home and give that dream performance in front of everyone.
"I'm looking forward to playing France. I always like another crack at them - it's never finished. We've got another chance to turn them over. It would be nice to do that. It's not even to get one back on them, but just to win and enjoy that feeling."
The front row of Mike Ross, Rory Best and Healy will de deployed en bloc for a second successive week with the latter grateful for another pipe opener.
"Bordeaux was my first blow-out of the season. My body was struggling a bit and I was trying to keep up," said Healy. "Some bits of my game I was happy with and some bits need to be fixed up. Hopefully those things will be ironed out for Saturday."
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