RUGBY WORLD CUP: Ireland need to improve to beat France admits Joe Schmidt

Ireland's Tommy Bowe gets tackled by Italy's Francesco Minto (right)
Ireland's Tommy Bowe gets tackled by Italy's Francesco Minto (right)

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has warned his players they will need to up their game if they want to overcome France in next Sunday’s Pool D decider.

Schmidt’s side booked their place in the World Cup quarter-finals with a 16-9 win over Italy at the Olympic Stadium but a stodgy performance will have given the French encouragement ahead of the showdown in Cardiff.

The winners will finish top of the group and avoid the likely scenario of facing reigning champions New Zealand in the last eight.

“The French media have high expectations and so do the team,” Schmidt said.

“It’s going to be incredibly hard for us to beat them. They are armed with more weaponry than what we saw today.

“It will be very difficult. We have to be more accurate than we were today.

“Physically they have players who are very, very powerful and that will make things difficult for us as well.

“I’ve watched their games and I’ll be doing a lot of analysis over the next 24 to 48 hours.

“We’ll come up with a plan and hopefully we can be more accurate in putting that in place than we were today.”