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Teenager fly-half Jalibert ready for France debut, says Brunel

03 February, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Keith Wood Les Kiss news reaction and his France vs Ireland preview

"Wales are unusual outsiders at 15/1 to go all the way despite having the experienced British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland, this is mainly down to them missing a host of star players through injury and introducing a new brand of free-flowing rugby".

Cian Healy gets the nod at loosehead ahead of Leinster teammate Jack McGrath who starts on the bench.

Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray will steer the ship from half-back, with nearly 130 Ireland caps between them, while powerful Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale (21) will make his Six Nations bow in the back-three alongside the equally electric Earls and full-back Rob Kearney, who is set for his 75th start for Ireland.

France: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 3 Rabah Slimani, 4 Arthur Iturria, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Yacouba Camara, 8 Kevin Gourdon.

Here are five talking points.

. Any nerves he might have had would have been when he was selected (for the squad two weeks ago) because that's when everyone took an interest in him.

"Andrew Conway is managing a knee that was a little bit inflamed, for a period of time". As a result Schmidt has gone with McFadden on the bench.

Two other players who impressed in November's clean sweep of victories - centre Bundee Aki and winger Jacob Stockdale - also make their Six Nations bow with Josh van der Flier edging out Dan Leavy at flanker in another tight call.

Though Schmidt says he's close to making it. Ryan replaces Devon Toner in the second row. Huge opportunity for the youngster.

"They've had incredible performances and then followed by one's lacking in intensity, lacking in focus and it just seems as if the board up there have decided that enough is enough and they're going to move it on".

"Sexton has help in the management department, in the form of Conor Murray". He's been excellent for Leinster this season and deserves his spot. "While it's good that you can have that sort of confidence as a team that you can play well, by and large, come the start of the game tomorrow it's irrelevant", Best told reporters.

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