Consistency the aim for O'Connell26/09/2012 - 15:00:54
Munster and Ireland second row Paul O’Connell hopes the international training camp held in Carton House this week will help Ireland produce more consistent performances over the November test series against South Africa and Argentina.
Ireland’s summer tour of New Zealand ended on a sour note for Declan Kidney’s charges who slumped to a 60-0 defeat against the All Blacks having come agonisingly close to victory in the second Test.
O’Connell knows Ireland can be a match for any international side when they are in top form and he hopes they can maintain a high level of performance throughout the November series.
“I think we played some great rugby at times over the past year but we haven’t been consistent,” he told Irish Rugby TV.
“You look at some of the performances last year like Australia, France away, New Zealand the second Test, they’ve been brilliant but they’ve probably been interspersed with some inconsistent performances as well.
“We just need to hit high standards for the whole of November.”
Declan Kidney’s commitment to the upcoming series is reflected in this week’s training camp in Carton House which has taken players away from their provinces to try and generate greater cohesion within the international squad before the series kicks off.
The former British and Irish Lions captain thinks the training camp is vital if Ireland are to match South Africa and Argentina who have the advantage of playing in the Rugby Championship until early October.
“This is the second time we have come together since the summer tour. Four weeks ago we reviewed the tour, put it to bed and set some standards that we wanted to achieve for the upcoming season.
“At times in the past we haven’t met at all in the gap between the summer tour and the autumn internationals.
“It’s great for guys to familiarise themselves with each other again, with the game plan, with the calls.
"You look at the teams we are playing, South Africa and Argentina, they’re in the height of the Rugby Championship, spending a lot of time together which puts us at a bit of a disadvantage so this helps reduce that gap.”
As always, the autumn international series will have a bearing on Ireland’s IRB World Ranking which will come into play in December when the draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup pool allocation takes place.
Ireland are currently ranked a disappointing seventh in the world, one place higher than Argentina and five behind South Africa.
Ranking points are of little concern to the likes of O’Connell however with the big lock insisting that Ireland’s standards and ambitions carrying much more influence.
“I don’t think ranking points is any motivation. When you play South Africa you’re playing one of the best teams in the world so you need to be physically ready at all times and the same goes for Argentina, you need to be physically and mentally ready for a massive battle.
“Ranking points are irrelevant to us, it’s about our own high standards and getting results.”
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