O’Connell demands Irish improvement

Date published: February 14 2015

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Ireland captain Paul O'Connell admits his side will have to improve after battling past France in Dublin.

The Men in Green founded their success on the boot of the returning Johnny Sexton, who kicked them to an 18-11 success.

But while the Irish managed the game well, they were put under pressure in the second half, and found themselves hanging on as France started using their big runners.

And having failed to score a try, O'Connell knows his team will have to pick things up when they face England in a fortnight, even if he was pleased with the win.

"It is disappointing really, the way we finished the game," he said.

"We weren't really all the things we want to be – we want to be disciplined, we want to be accurate, and we weren't as good at those things as we'd like to be. We turned over the ball unnecessarily.

"But they are a good side, and a big side, with a lot of very skilful players. So for us to get a win is massive.

"The defensive effort in the second half was great – you'd rather defend with the ball, and rather have the ball for longer, putting them under pressure and defending that way, but we turned over the ball a lot and you can't do that with them.

"They are a good side and they scored a good try in the end – I guess the pressure told eventually against us.

"I think today is great – every time we beat them it is massive.

"But I think that game against England is going to be another level. I think it is going to be a challenge like not many of us have faced before."

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