D'Arcy out to set the record straight

by Michelle Fortune , 22 February 2012

Gordon D'Arcy has stressed the importance of Ireland beating Italy in the RBS Six Nations on Saturday not only from a Championship point of view but also for the fans who have shown tremendous loyalty.

Ireland have not played since their last-minute defeat to Wales on opening weekend of the Championship because the game against France was postponed at the 11th hour due to a frozen pitch.

The postponement means Ireland face a hectic 22 days with four games in successive weeks set to test Declan Kidney's men to the highest.

Ireland have lost their last three Test matches at the Aviva Stadium and D'Arcy has called on his team to end the losing streak and to pay back both the management and supporters for the loyalty they have shown over the last few months.

“The importance of beating Italy is an absolute no-brainer,” D'Arcy said. “There are huge things at stake here – our home record, getting our championship challenge back on track and setting the record straight.

“We also need to repay the people who have put a lot of faith in us, from the management right the way through to the amazing support we’ve received, even when our performances have dipped.

“A lot of people have put faith in us and now it’s time for us to give it back to them. We must deliver. All the talking is great, but we are the ones who have to deliver.”

The odds on Ireland walking away with the wooden spoon have plummeted since their defeat to Wales and while they are the favourites on Saturday, D'Arcy is very aware of the threat Italy possess.

"You'll never be happy losing a game like ours against Wales, it leaves you with a real sick feeling," he said of the last-minute penalty kick which handed Warren Gatland's men victory.

"You carry a little bit of that feeling into the next match and it is a motivating factor, but it's gone and nothing we can do will change it.

"We have to focus on Italy, who will provide a different set of challenges. The new coach (Jacques Brunel) has come in and developed what (predecessor) Nick Mallett has done.

"He's taken the mainstay of their game, the physical attributes like then ruck, maul and scrum, and added a more expansive game."

A lot has been written about how the postponement of the France mach will impact Ireland but D'Arcy insists the players have not been effected as much as has been suggested.

It's fine, it hasn't really impacted on us. We had a full week's preparation before the France game, we just missed the match," he explained.

"We've had a full week of normal preparation for this Italy game, so we're probably the least affected by the postponement.

"We're some 20 games into the season so if anything the break will allow us to recharge the batteries.

"We've got four matches on the bounce now and I believe that will be a good thing for us. Hopefully I won't be eating those words in four weeks' time."

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