Ireland v France, Six Nations, Dublin, February 13
Chabal: Ireland will respond
ESPNscrum Staff
February 10, 2011
France's Sebastien Chabal is shackled by the Scotland defence, France v Scotland, Six Nations Championship, Stade de France, Saint Denis, Paris, France, February 5, 2011
Sebastien Chabal carries the ball in last weekend's win over Scotland © Getty Images

France No.8 Sebastien Chabal has refused to underestimate the challenge posed by Ireland in this Sunday's Six Nations clash at Lansdowne Road.

While France laid down an impressive marker with a 34-21 victory over Scotland in Paris last weekend, Ireland scraped past Italy 13-11 thanks to a late drop-goal from veteran fly-half Ronan O'Gara.

Nevertheless Chabal, who starts on the bench for the showdown, is expecting Ireland to show their true colours this time around.

"It's true that Ireland had a poor start to this tournament but I don't think it's the right time to be facing them," he said. "I would have preferred if they had been good in Italy. Knowing their temperament and their fighting spirit, I know that they will want to bounce back.

"We shouldn't rest on what they did in Italy. They will want to show another side. But in any case we have to stop looking at our opponents too much. We have to obviously know what they offer to try to counter them but what's most important is what we are capable of producing. We have to first work on our game."

Chabal feels last weekend's performance against the Scots has given France something to build on as they bounced back from their humiliating 59-16 defeat to Australia in November.

"It was encouraging," he said. "We were on the right track in the match even if we were nervous coming out of the dressing room at the Stade de France. We did what we needed to to reassure ourselves a little bit and to find our bearings again on the pitch.

"Everything wasn't perfect but it was encouraging. Everyone is pointing their finger at the three tries we conceded but it's normal to concede when you attack a lot and against a Scotland team who play rugby very well. What's important is to score more than your opponents, which we managed to do."

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