Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony has claimed that Ireland's narrow Rugby World Cup loss to New Zealand in October is not being used as fuel for their Six Nations push this year.
Andy Farrell's Ireland side were narrowly beaten by the All Blacks 28-24 at the Stade de France in Paris at the quarter-final stage, and much has been said about what is next for the Irish team.
The Boys in Green are the current Six Nations champions and Grand Slam holders, and they face a daunting task against the French in Marseille on Friday.
No team has ever won back-to-back Slams, and Ireland's record in France is not great. Their last win in France came when former Ireland captain Johnny Sexton produced that brillant last-gasp drop-goal in the dying moments of 2018.
A lot has been asked about Ireland's ability to go again and if they will use the defeat against New Zealand to beat the likes of France, but O'Mahony the new Ireland captain, believes that that result is in the past and it's about what comes next
"We’re not trying to prove a point to ourselves about what happened; we’re trying to prove where this team is at and where we want to go," he said this week
"It’s not about putting things right. It is about a test match tomorrow night."
France and Ireland have won both Slams on offer in 2023 and 2022, and one of the two is expected to win the championship again. The bookies expect Ireland to come in second this year, while France is expected to go all the way again, provided they overcome Ireland this Friday.
O'Mahony knows that the stakes are high and the result for both sides will have lasting effects for the rest of the Six Nations
"In this competition, every game is colossal," he added. "That’s an understatement. Make of it what you want, but both of us are out there tomorrow to win the game and set us up for a bit of momentum for the rest of the campaign. It’s a huge occasion for both of us."
This week, Leinster's Joe McCarthy and Calvin Nash were named in the starting lineup for the French test. O'Mahony was asked about McCarthy and claimed he was impressed with his eagerness to learn and grow in the Ireland camp
"He’s eager to learn, perform, play well and impress, and that is exactly what he has done, he added
"Destructive would be a word I’d use for him. He’s a great man to have around, great craic, and has really added to our squad in more ways than just rugby."