The teams were announced yesterday for the Ireland v France RBS Six Nations Match which takes place at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, kick off 16:50. LIve on UTV.
Rory Best returns to the starting line up after missing out in the romp against the Italians. The Ulsterman is joined in the front row by Jack McGrath at loosehead and Johnny Sexton makes his first appearance this series, following prolonged and frequent injury problems, to start at out half. The changes see Niall Scannell, Cian Healy and Paddy Jackson drop to the bench.
Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony and Andrew Trimble all return from injury to add a bit of growl to the replacements.
France have brought prop Rabah Slimani, flanker Bernard le Roux and wing Yoann Huget in for what is sure to be an abrasive encounter.
There is quite a bit of ho ha about Sexton going straight in for the fit and on form Jackson, but it’s probably the right call, if only for the reason that they are the two best out halfs in Ireland by some stretch and you wouldn’t want an injury prone Sexton coming on for Jackson after 10 minutes!
Trimble in for Gilroy probably says more about what sort of match that Schmidt is expecting. I would guess he’s hoping for Ireland to gain some parity up front early on and wants Earls and Zebo to convert chances but hopes to call on Trimble’s outstanding defensive qualities towards the end.
However these arguments are moot as the real damage is going to be caused up front. Disappointingly Schmidt has been unable to develop the fast paced offloading game with Ireland that he had with Leinster and they will struggle to take this French side on in the trenches!
The FRU Predicts: Outside of a couple of lucky bounces and the French imploding I struggle to see how Ireland are going to get a result in this one. They only have one big game in them and I suspect they are saving that for St Paddy’s Day. France to win.
|Rob Kearney||15||Scott Spedding|
|Keith Earls||14||Yoann Huget|
|Garry Ringrose||13||Gael Fickou|
|Robbie Henshaw||12||Remi Lamerat|
|Simon Zebo||11||Noa Nakaitaci|
|Jonathan Sexton||10||Camille Lopez|
|Conor Murray||9||Baptiste Serin|
|Jack McGrath||1||Cyril Baille|
|Rory Best||2||Guilhem Guirado|
|Tadhg Furlong||3||Rabah Slimani|
|Donnacha Ryan||4||Sebastien Vahaamahina|
|Devin Toner||5||Yoann Maestri|
|CJ Stander||6||Bernard Le Roux|
|Sean O’Brien||7||Kevin Gourdon|
|Jamie Heaslip||8||Louis Picamoles|
|Niall Scannell||16||Christopher Tolofua|
|Cian Healy||17||Uini Atonio|
|John Ryan||18||Eddy Ben Arous|
|Iain Henderson||19||Julien Le Devedec|
|Peter O’Mahony||20||Charles Ollivon|
|Kieran Marmion||21||Maxime Machenaud|
|Paddy Jackson||22||Henry Chavancy|
|Andrew Trimble||23||Djibril Camara|