February 21, 2018

O'Driscoll Says HIA Controversy In French Game 'A Disgrace'

06 February 2018, 02:47 | Kara Nash

Aki playing for Ireland in the November internationals

Aki playing for Ireland in the November internationals

France have opted for youth over experience this Six Nations and Matthieu Jalibert is a prime example of this.

15-Rob Kearney, 14-Keith Earls, 13-Robbie Henshaw, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 10-Johnny Sexton, 9-Conor Murray; 8-CJ Stander, 7-Josh van der Flier, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 5-James Ryan, 4-Iain Henderson, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Rory Best (captain), 1-Cian Healy.

Brunel, who took over from Guy Noves after a poor November series, banked on Jalibert to instill some life into the French team, but the 19-year-old limped off the field after half an hour.

"It's pretty hard to explain how you feel when you think that the game has got away and you've let it slip and suddenly you've grabbed it because of, I felt, an incredible team effort to work their way up the pitch, about 40 or 45 metres and then to add on, at the end of it, a 40-metre drop goal".

It was interesting to hear Owens tell the French doctors to take Dupont off for a HIA.

On this occasion, he was relieved to avoid more Paris pain after ruining Jacques Brunel's first game as Les Bleus head coach.

"For the first time in a while though we've seen a number of punters backing Scotland to go all the way - testament to an impressive 2017 that saw them beat Ireland, Wales and Australia with Gregor Townsend's expensive brand of rugby".

The Welsh had run in four tries to claim a bonus-point win in Cardiff but this was a more closely-fought encounter which will nevertheless have left Joe Schmidt and his players delighted.

Former Ireland Under-20s captain Ryan has always been earmarked as a future Test leader, and now has the chance to cement his promise against a powerful French pack. "One of the reasons is to find out", said Schmidt when asked if Ryan was ready for such a challenge.

Matthieu Jalibert will make his France debut against Ireland
Matthieu Jalibert will make his France debut against Ireland

"It's a position we don't have huge depth in, and we've given James an opportunity", Schmidt said.

Commentating for Irish radio station RTE, Corcoran goes completely nuts when Johnny Sexton executes a 42-meter drop-goal to win in the dying seconds of the match.

This comes after worry during the week that Sexton would receive the Parisian treatment that was thrust upon him back in 2014 and 2016.

"I'd hope that it's not".

"It's odd to think I have never done a Calcutta Cup game before - when I do Ireland v France that will be my 80th Test match and the Calcutta Cup will be my 81st". It's not the same referee this time. When times gets tough we have to get tighter as a group'.

As it was, there was no seeing Jalibert again as his debut ended prematurely.

"Firstly it's because he's been in very good form for several weeks, so it's about his performances", said Brunel, who revealed Machenaud will be the team's kicker. He's been here for two weeks now, we know his qualities, especially against the Irish kicking game.

"I am very happy that people either think we are not very good, even awful or just rank bad, and regarded as the fifth country in the tournament".

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