The return of Brian O'Driscoll for Ireland's second RBS Six Nations game at home to Wales on Sunday should provide a big boost to the side. It was disappointing to see Ireland lose in Paris last weekend, but it was always going to be tough given the number of injuries to the side. We were in touching distance at half-time, and started the second half perfectly by scoring a try. But France stepped up a gear and scored a couple of tries which meant it was virtually game over.
Ireland had to defend a lot in the first half and were tiring after half-time. It was a strangely subdued game in Paris. We played reasonably well, but will have to play better. Having Brian back will make a huge difference, because it gives the team the kind of potency it was lacking against France. It needs people to defend him, and that opens up holes elsewhere.
He was very close to being able to play last Saturday, but his was the kind of injury where a week can make all the difference. Eddie O'Sullivan has made only one other change besides bringing back Brian - Donncha O'Callaghan's in at lock and he brings an increased level of oomph into the side.
Wales lost every game in the RBS Six Nations last year, and I felt that talk before the start of this year's championship of a Welsh resurgence was ridiculous as it was only based on a couple of performances in the World Cup.
But they had a purple patch in their win against Scotland, and they'll arrive in Dublin full of confidence. They were within a kick of beating us in Cardiff last year, and they have definitely improved since. It all points to the game being very close this time.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.