Earls: We'll hit Paris with confidence
KEITH Earls insists Ireland's spirits have been lifted for their daunting trip to Paris by their resounding Six Nations victory over Italy.
Ireland emerged 42-10 winners at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday to haul themselves back into title contention following their loss to Wales three weeks ago.
Their next assignment is Six Nations favourites France in a rearranged fixture, originally postponed because of a frozen pitch.
A solitary victory since 1972 is all the Irish have to show from four decades of campaigning in Paris, but Earls admits their confidence is rising.
"We're happy. That was a big scoreline for us against Italy," he said. "After the Welsh game we wanted to go out and prove ourselves.
"Not much was said at half-time. We knew it was going to take 60-odd minutes to break Italy down.
"We knew we had to be direct in the second half, which we did and the scores came from that. The second half was a lot better and we got our second wind and some good scores."
While Earls showed signs against Italy that he is capable of replacing Brian O'Driscoll at outside centre, far greater tests than the Azzurri await.
French pair Aurelien Rougerie and Wesley Fofana will provide a stiff examination of his partnership with Gordon D'Arcy on Sunday.
"Gordon and I haven't played with each other that much and he is used to Brian, so it will take a while before we're used to each other," he said.