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. 

IRELAND   FRANCE
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

#SUFTUM