Andrew Conway expects France to be a “different animal” to Wales but has warned there is still plenty more to come from in-form Ireland
The Irish take on the pre-tournament favorites in Paris on Saturday after beginning their Guinness Six Nations campaign by cruising to a bonus-point win over Wayne Pivac’s reigning champions.
Munster wing Conway – who battled a sickness bug amid claiming two tries in last weekend’s championship opener in Dublin – believes Andy Farrell’s remain capable of significant room for further improvement.
“I think there is so much growth in the team in that we didn’t actually play that well,” he said, reflecting on beating Wales 29-7.
“We played quite well but there’s so much more in us.
“The detail that we’ve looked at – detail even we were chatting about in the changing room afterwards – about how much better we can be is pretty clear for us to see in here.
“Obviously this weekend is going to be a different animal altogether and it’s going to be a way, way tougher match.
“It’s probably one of the most exciting places to go in the world.”
Conway crossed twice in quick succession in the second period against the Welsh to move on to 15 Test tries from 28 caps.
The 30-year-old was denied the chance of a hat-trick after being withdrawn with just under 20 minutes remaining, although he was not too disappointed.
Conway initially thought he was suffering pre-Test anxiety before experiencing a bout of vomiting during the game.
“I’m grand, I’m fine,” he said. “I just felt a bit ‘dodge’ on Friday night. But to be honest I didn’t even think I was feeling dodgy.
“When you’re preparing for Test match at times obviously there are nerves and it’s a big occasion, so I didn’t even realize until I started puking.
“I think what happens is you use your mind to not allow it in, you just convince yourself that you are feeling fine, you don’t say it to anyone, unless you’re really struggling.
“Once I got one out of me, it wasn’t going to stop until I was empty, so probably a wise decision to get me off because if the ball came down my way at one stage I wouldn’t have been much use. ”
Following an ideal start to the tournament, Ireland’s squad had the luxury of being able to sit back and watch France begin with a 37-10 defeat of Italy the following day.
Conway feels a tricky trip to the Stade de France will provide a yardstick of the team’s progress during a nine-match winning run which began last February.
“They are a proper good team, they are a seriously good team,” he said of France.
“They’ve got threats across the board, a massive pack, they are very agile as well, they’re well able to play ball.
“And then their backline speaks for itself – there’s probably 14 of them I could name that can do serious damage.
“It’s going to be an unbelievably exciting challenge and it’s something that’s going to give us a really good idea of where we’re at.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.