Six Nations
Heaslip backs Ireland to produce in Paris
February 8, 2010

Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip remains confident despite their poor display in defeating Italy 29-11 at Croke Park to kick off the defence of their Six Nations title.

Heaslip scored one of two Irish tries in a rare high-point but the game was blighted by aimless kicking and a lack of cohesion from both sides. With an away trip to face France up next for the Irish, Heaslip is confident that they can produce the goods and keep their challenge on track.

Despite their lack of tries, Ireland dominated the lineout and held their own in the one are that Italy were expected to dominate, the scrum.

"We were all over the place at points in the second half and lost our shape a bit," he said. "There was a load of kicking and it was hard to build any momentum, but we're happy with the way our lineout and scrum went.

"The game got loose at times and we needed to buckle down. Instead of throwing the ball around we needed to square up a bit more. In the end we did. We'll improve on those things and hopefully be in better shape against France. There are little things that need to be tweaked. There's nothing to be worried about. A bit of tweaking and it will be fine.

"It was a first day out in a few weeks for some of the boys. It was good to get the win and get the ball rolling and I'm sure we'll be in good shape for next week. France will be as aggressive as the Italians and will look to attack a bit more. I don't know if they'll kick as much though."

Heaslip believes that the Irish pack answered their critics at the set-piece, something they will need to do again next weekend after France demolished the Scottish scrum in their comfortable victory at Murrayfield on Sunday.

"Cian Healy and John Hayes did a great job for us. The front five did a fantastic job in the scrum - it was a great effort by the pack," he said. "People were saying stuff before the match but I don't think they'll be saying it now."


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