Published Friday, 08 March 2013
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Both teams have disappointed in this year's tournament, with the Irish coming off the back of a shock defeat to Scotland and the French winless after three games.
They will meet at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday not as title contenders but instead fighting to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon - a fate which hasn't befallen Ireland in 15 years.
Back row Sean O'Brien insisted his team are up to the challenge.
"We know what we have to do against France - losing is not an option," he added.
"There is a pride element and we're playing at home. If we win the last two games we leave ourselves in a good enough place, hopefully. That starts this weekend.
"We need to come out of the traps nice and hard. After the disappointment of losing to England and Scotland, everyone's up for it. I don't care about how France have been doing or where they finish up, it's about us, this team and this squad.
"All I'm worried about is making sure we're in the right place this weekend."
Under-fire coach Declan Kidney will lead his side out knowing they have only bettered Les Blues once in 13 meetings this decade.
Ireland have endured an awful injury list during their Six Nation's campaign, but received a boost with the news this week that 21-year-old Ulster star Paddy Jackson had passed a fitness test on a slight hamstring injury and will able to start at fly-half.
O'Brien said it will be a physical and emotional game.
"To win any international you have to beat up the opposition," he continued. "Physically we'll have to go to that place where it's manic and they don't know what's coming at them.
"Both teams need to win, but if you're desperate you can do some silly things. It's about having a clear mind and being aware of the circumstances you're in at any given time.
"We're created so much and aren't that far away from it. A ball here and there and it would have been different. It's about knowing how to finish.
"That are more positives than negatives. Although results haven't gone our way we are creating chances. We need to show more composure."
The game kicks off at 5pm.
Ireland squad: R Kearney (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster), L Marshall (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), M McCarthy (Connacht), D Ryan (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).
Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), S Archer (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), E Reddan (Leinster), I Madigan (Leinster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster).