Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll is taking nothing for granted as he lines up against France this Saturday in his side’s final warm-up game ahead of their opening Rugby World Cup against the USA next month.
Ireland head into the game at the Aviva Stadium with O’Driscoll back in the starting line-up after overcoming a neck injury that saw him miss his side’s previous two warm-up games.
He joins the likes of fellow centre Gordon D’Arcy, Jamie Heaslip and Paul O’Connell in a side that appears to give a clear indication of who coach Declan Kidney will be taking on the plane to South Africa.
However, O’Driscoll knows how important it is for the players to impress against the French.
Speaking to the Irish Times, he said: “We’re in a different place with this squad in that in previous years, for the most part, you would have been fairly sure what 29 or 30 might have been.
“But I think genuinely this year people are going to look at the squad and see people left out and think ‘janey, there’s some really top quality players being left out’.
“That’s a testament to the squad that’s been developed and also to the attitude of the guys and backing themselves.”
It may only be a warm-up game but expect the Irish to push hard against the French.
France have had the better of the recent encounters though, winning 19-12 last Saturday and losing just one of their ten previous encounters with Ireland prior to that win.
However, France coach Marc Lievremont has approached the game differently to Kidney and is giving every fit player a chance to prove their worth before he names his world cup squad.
With a strong Ireland team facing a France side with 13 changes from their tight victory last week, backing the Men in Green to win at XX looks the bet.