France v Ireland, Six Nations, February 11
Kiss demands fire in France
February 10, 2012
Coach Les Kiss is demanding Ireland show some emotion in Paris © Getty Images
Les Kiss has demanded Ireland "breath some fire" against France as they seek to atone for their disappointing start to the Six Nations.
While some controversial officiating ultimately decided their 23-21 defeat by Wales last weekend, the Irish accept a poor performance was the true explanation for their downfall. Needing victory on Saturday night to thrust themselves back into the Six Nations title frame, Kiss has urged his team to carry the fight to France.
"This is a huge battle on their turf and it's up to us to make sure we right some wrongs from last Sunday," said the defence and backs coach. "Whether it's anger or the desire to put a few things right personally and as a team, everyone will use what emotion they need.
"It will be a desperately tough battle and it's up to us to put our best foot forward. We lost to Wales so the Grand Slam has gone and it's now tougher to win the Six Nations, but nothing's impossible.
"This is a Test match and we disappointed ourselves no end last week. It's important that we breath some fire, make some statements for ourselves and get back to what we are - which is a tough team to beat."
Ireland's record against France makes for dismal reading, having triumphed in Paris just once since 1972 and prevailing just once in 12 meetings at all venues dating back to 2003. Kiss believes tenacity is the key to toppling the World Cup finalists.
"They're a team that doesn't like opponents who bite at their heels continuously and that keeps coming at them," he said. "If you get a start on them and you keep your foot on their throat, they don't like that either.
"But they can create anything out of nothing and if we're loose at any point they'll punish us. We need a strong mindset and must be absolutely committed to what we are good at. The back three will cause us a bit of grief if we don't have our chase lines right.
"(Winger) Julien Malzieu is a very adept player. He's been out of the scene for a while but was on fire against Italy last weekend. France are a team that thrive on anything given to them in a loose fashion. It's vital that we squeeze the space their back three thrives on."
Kiss believe two of Ireland's greatest shortcomings against Wales were the passivity of their defence and decision-making.
"We'd love to improve in defence. We're disappointed as a team that we haven't applied more pressure on a more consistent basis," he said. "We'd like to improve that aspect of our game. We'd also like to manage our game in terms of territory.
"We must also have more control of the decisions that we can control, putting ourselves in a position of strength rather than inviting more pressure."
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