You and Michalak are both world class kickers. Will you share that role on Saturday?
Yes and no. Frederic is our number one kicker, and I'll be there to help if he needs me to. We'll try to communicate, and if at times he doesn't feel up to the task, I will take over.
But if the choice had been given to me, I would have picked Frederic as number one. He's in good form right now, he took over for me against England when I was struggling a bit.
You need a clear hierarchy to prepare for a game, the number one kicker needs to know from the beginning of the week that he'll have to take his responsibilities.
It doesn't change much before the game anyway, or during the game. I'll do it if Fred needs me to, right now he doesn't.
You've been playing a lot of your international rugby with François Trinh-Duc. How is your association with Frederic Michalak?
We've been practicing and playing together for a while now, in June, November, the RBS 6 Nations, and things are going well.
We're mixing things a lot in practice, even if there is nothing like game time together. Our communication is good, and from that it's always easier to find solutions.
Given your respective qualities, will you switch back and forth between scrum-half and fly-half during the game?
Probably at times. This level of competition involves a lot of phases, and the scrum-half has to be everywhere.
Alternating could be an interesting way to save time on the field, the player being closer to the ball acting as scrum-half to inject some pace.
Communication is very natural in those situations. I know the backline's announcements, Fred knows the pack's, it should be a problem.
How is the atmosphere in the squad?
There is anger among us, but we're trying to keep it to ourselves, and the atmosphere is still good in the group.
But we do need to find solutions, to improve what can be improved. At times, we got lost in our game plan because of small individual mistakes, a few poor decisions. We might be able to defeat Ireland, but only if we can avoid those mistakes.
What do you expect from this game?
There are some factors that will make that confrontations more special and likely more difficult for us, like that fact that they lost in Scotland two weeks ago, or that it will be Brian O'Driscoll's last home game for Ireland... We know how tough it can be to play in that arena, and this will be another tough challenge for us.
It would have been better to travel to Ireland for higher stakes, but we have our own sources of motivation, honor, pride of wearing that jersey, the will to turn things around.
What is your approach concerning the coming confrontation?
We can't be timorous. We won't get a victory by playing a restrictive game. We have done some good things in the first three games, it's up to us to use them.
If we can run the ball, we will, only if opportunities appear. Let's play a clever game, and show some enthusiasm.
Would you be ok with "winning ugly"?
Winning ugly is still winning! Obviously, we'd rather enjoy some open play, reproduce what we're doing in practice. But this is not what a competition is about. This is about being efficient and winning games. If the conditions are difficult and we have to win ugly, then we will if we can. That's what we're here for, now more than ever.
Is it more difficult when the starting line-up keeps changing every week?
It's just a matter of rotation. The players coming in have been in the squad for a while, we all know each other, we're used to this way of working. I think we have enough quality to bring some change here and there.
Is it a greater motivation to play for a Grand Slam or to avoid the wooden spoon?
Avoiding defeat might be a bigger source of motivation. The search for a good dynamic can bring just as intense a joy as a row of victories.
It looks from the outside like you are all very calm, unfazed. Is it just an impression?
I think so. There is anger among us, but there's only need for it when we're on the field during the week-end. We're obviously disappointed, but we do have faith in the work we're doing.
Those three games didn't go our way, for multiple reasons. But there is no mystery, we're angry with ourselves but we can't let it bring us down.
We can't exactly be positive, but we have to stay ambitious.
You now have a lot of experience in the RBS 6 Nations. Do you think this is the first year where the level of competition is this high, with all teams hoping to get two, three or four victories?
I wouldn't put it this way. I feel like it's the first year where there's a lot of uncertainty on every game.
Only one team, England, is confident and slightly above the others, while the others are still looking for the right formula.
We were used to seeing two or three teams with a good handle on their games and systems. Besides England, I don't feel a lot of confidence among the other nations.
You are now a veteran in this team. Are those hard situations more difficult for you to handle in that regard? Is there more pressure on your shoulders?
I don't think it matters. It's neither easier nor harder to go through, and I certainly didn't change my way of doing things.
I don't feel less or more expectations than usual. When you're playing for your country there are expectations no matter what. Being younger or older doesn't matter, you just need to perform. Having a given status is no reason to slack.
How does it feel being confirmed at fullback despite Maxime Medard's return?
It proves the staff trust me. Besides that, Maxime is coming back, he's been playing on the wing for his first games but at full-back for his last couple of matches.
We will be able to switch back and forth on Saturday, which is good for the team.
Are there predefined situations where you are going to switch?
Maxime has a good left boot, and we will obviously want to use it on the right side of the field at times.
But in open play, there really isn't anything programmed.
We'll try to do what we do best! We do have some reflexes together and hopefully it will help us in our running game.
Does it help to play with your club teammates?
It will be easier to anticipate each other's choices. We'll see what we can do in terms of counter attacking, we'll probably need to be patient and run the ball if and when we have the opportunity to do it.
You wanted to keep the ball in hand against England. Will it be the same in Ireland?
We'll have to adapt to the weather conditions! And to the defense the Irish will use.
Again, we'll have to make the right decisions, and kick the ball when necessary, because the Irish defence is a tough one. Let's stay humble.
You must be expecting a lot of pressure under high ball...
Of course, it's one of the main aspects of the game as a full-back. But this is not something I fear.
Do you think about those three defeats in a row?
Obviously. As competitors we would like to win every game. It is difficult for us right now to reproduce on the field the good work we're doing in practice.
Is it harder to prepare for a game when the objective, in the end, is to avoid the last place?
Not really. We're playing for our country, other players are pushing behind us to get a spot.
As players and competitors, our future is at stake because we want to be part of the adventure in the years to come. We're building something, and if we have to go through hard times to eventually get something greater in 2015, we'll endure.
Is it difficult to focus on those last two games in the RBS 6 Nations when you have important games coming with your clubs?
This is the national team, and it is the priority right now. We want to finish on a high to build confidence.
We haven't been very lucky lately, but the team is slowly showing progress.
A lot has been said about Craig Joubert's refereeing in England. Was there a briefing about Steve Walsh for this next game?
We talked about it, the referee is obviously a crucial element in a rugby game. What does he particularly pay attention to at the breakdown? How does he command the scrum? It is a big part of the preparation.
Is the wooden spoon somewhere in the back of your head when you're preparing for a game?
As far as I'm concerned, no. We're not there yet. We're not good enough, obviously.
But there were good things against Wales or England, even if there is still much to be improved.
But this is the national team, and rather than thinking about that wooden spoon, I'm focusing on pride, on the honour it is to be representing my country, on the luck I'll have to play at the Aviva Stadium which is such an amazing arena, on playing a great game of rugby.
Does it help to have defeated Leinster twice in club rugby this year?
Maybe a little. The stadium will remind me and my Clermont teammates of some good times, we have some amazing memories there.
But those Heineken Cup games and this one will be very different, and it would be a mistake for us to think that we can use that experience.
I think Leinster plays a faster game than Ireland, we at Clermont play very differently as well. I'm not saying it's better or worse, it's just not the same.
I don't think even those games between Clermont and Leinster can be compared to the intensity of the RBS 6 Nations. The international level is a bit higher, this will be Brian O'Driscoll's last home game for his country. This will be a whole other thing!