Ronan O'Gara insists he will accept personal responsibility if he fails to celebrate his first Test as captain by lifting the gloom shrouding Irish rugby.
O’Gara is determined to lead Ireland to their third successive victory at Twickenham when they clash with stricken England on Saturday.
The contest may only be a battle for bronze but with coaches Eddie O’Sullivan and Brian Ashton under immense scrutiny, there is plenty at stake behind the scenes.
Ireland have plummeted down the world rankings to eighth - their lowest ever position - and capitulation at Twickenham would complete their worst championship since 1999.
After the misery of last autumn’s World Cup, Irish rugby is in desperate need of a lift - and O’Gara is ready to provide it.
“We can’t change the result against Wales, it’s gone now,” said the Munster fly-half, who is deputising as captain for the injured Brian O’Driscoll.
“It’s important for this team and the players, whose confidence levels aren’t as high as they should be, that we make sure we’re in the best frame of mind about this weekend.
“We have to be positive - and I’m excited by this game because it’s England at Twickenham. It’s a one-off game.
“There might not be much at stake in terms of finishing position but pride is on the line for me personally and the team. It’s a massive occasion for us.
“Not only are we representing the Irish rugby team, we’re representing the Irish public. That’s something that’s hugely important to me.
“I’ll take personal responsibility for trying to put a smile back on people’s faces in Ireland.”
Saturday’s protagonists were both left reeling by defeats in the penultimate round of Six Nations action.
Ireland were beaten 16-12 by Wales but should have lost by far more, a result that ended their faint hopes of being in the title mix this weekend.
Yet worse was England’s 15-9 mauling by wooden spoon contenders Scotland in a nightmarish encounter at Murrayfield.
With the rivals dejected from their recent setbacks, both are desperate to avoid limping over the Six Nations finishing line.
“England are wounded but I’d like to think that there’ll be a reaction from us because of what happened last weekend,” said O’Gara.
“England will be very disappointed with their performance against Scotland so they’ll be on the rebound. They’ll be dangerous.
“I’d like to think the same applies to us and more, though. Training has been very good over the last couple of days.
“There was probably a gloomy 48 hours but we’ve moved on from that now. We’re excited about the challenge facing us this weekend.”
Ireland have established an amazing record against England, beating them in all four meetings since Martin Johnson’s side were crowned world champions in 2003.