Best out to ignore history books

by Michelle Fortune , 01 March 2012

Beating France in Paris would be a massive result for Ireland and Rory Best has urged his team-mates to ignore the record books and do all they can to claim a historic victory.

Ireland have an appalling record against France with just one victory from their last 12 meetings - the Grand Slam success of 2009 - and they go into Sunday's rearranged RBS Six Nations clash fully aware that it has been 12 years since they beat Les Bleus on French soil.

Brian O'Driscoll was the hat-trick hero that afternoon but he will be missing this weekend after undergoing shoulder surgery and the starting XV named by Declan Kidney have a massive job on their hands if they are to upset Philippe Saint-Andre's men.

Best accepts that history is against Ireland but he believes they have the confidence to go to Paris and walk away with a famous result.

"The record books say that us winning in Paris doesn't happen very often, so from an Irish point of view it would be a massive result for us," he said.

"We go there full of confidence, but we're fully aware of how long it's been since we've beaten them in Paris.

"It's a massive challenge, but we have a massive opportunity to write ourselves into the history books.

"As competitive players you want to have these big moments in your career. Sunday evening can be one of those for us."

Ireland travelled to France last month on the back of the heartbreaking loss to Wales but they were denied the chance to atone for their loss as the match was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

This time they travel to Paris fresh from a 37-10 win over Italy and Best believes they will take a lot of encouragement from last week's success.

"The last time we went there we had the advantage of trying to settle a score after losing the Wales game the way we did. That was always a motivating factor," Best said.

"Now we're coming off the back of a good win and have scored five tries against Italy. You don't often see Italy concede 40 points these days.

"It's very encouraging to go to France with that in the bank. We've also had another few weeks together so we're ironing out the wrinkles.

"But any time you to go Paris is an exciting time. We want the win that has been so elusive for Irish rugby for so long. The French have this reputation of being all-action and maybe in the past we've tried to match that, while they've played smart rugby against us.

"Any time I've been there we've been uncharacteristically loose in the first 20 minutes and do things we wouldn't normally do. We've talked about that and want to rectify it."

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