Jamie Heaslip has highlighted the dangers of underestimating France as Ireland step up their preparations to face Les Blues in the Six Nations on Saturday.
Both sides have endured similar starts to this year’s competition. Ireland lost to Scotland before trouncing Italy. The French went down against England before rebounding with a win in Paris against Scotland.
Ireland have won 3 of the last 4 meetings with France, two of those victories came came in the Six Nations, while Joe Schmidt also masterminded a victory in the World Cup.
Last year though the winning run was halted as Ireland left the Stade de France on the wrong side of a 10-9 scoreline.
Heaslip knows the French are a formidable side, and Ireland’s recent good record against Les Blues will count for very little this weekend.
“They’re always tough to play against, sometimes the score board for either team might reflect a one sided game but its never that way against France.
“I think they’re as dangerous as ever, they’re just got some lucky breaks and it’s just gone their way in certain games and other games like the England game, they lost out on final play.
“It’s never easy.”
Heaslip has been doing his homework, most of his down time last week was spent analysing the French.
Guy Noves' side began with the 19-16 loss to England, but followed up by beating Scotland.
“We got images of them last week and more images last night and this morning in our different units, they pose a massive challenge.
“We can take confidence of the back of how the clubs have gone against French sides in Europe and the plan that we have, we have to trust the process and just deliver on that plan.