Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll believes his Ireland side need to be at the top of their game in this year’s RBS 6 Nations Championship with three out of their five games on the road.
Ireland begin their 2011 campaign with a trip to Stadio Flaminio to face Italy on Saturday and have to travel to Edinburgh and Cardiff in this season’s tournament.
The 107-times capped centre though will lead his team out against France and England on home soil and is only too aware of the importance of a home victory.
“You have a preference for playing the perceived stronger sides at home but at the same time last year we managed to lose to Scotland at home," he said.
"Having watched what they did at Murrayfield last November [beating South Africa], we know that won't be an easy game.
"We only beat Wales in Cardiff two years ago when they had a penalty kick fall a yard and a half short of the posts in the final minute. I even remember we went nine points down in the first half of the Italy game two years ago. We had to fight our way back with an interception try and eventually ground our way through.
"What makes this tournament so great is that to win five games in a row is really tough. That's why it took us 61 years to do it for a second time."