Brian O'Driscoll brands France HIA controversy 'disgraceful'

Season over for Dupont Jalibert out for month

For 10 disgusting minutes at the Stade de France, they were in for a frightful loss together. His two wins have both been by two nerve-wracking points with a one-point defeat sandwiched in between.

Kick-off is at 4.45pm today (Saturday, February 3).

There are great expectations for Ryan, a former Ireland Under-20 captain, with murmurings that he is destined to skipper the senior side one day.

What are the match odds?

France meanwhile are on a seven-game losing streak, reflected in the home side's 5/2 odds.

Schmidt's relationship with Johnny Sexton goes back eight years now.

A draw is priced at 25/1.

However we have seen in the past how devastating a French team can be when they play with no fear or restraint.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has included three NatWest 6 Nations debutants - Jacob Stockdale, Bundee Aki and James Ryan - in his team for Saturday's opening clash with France in Paris (kick-off 5.45pm local time/4.45pm Irish time).




Ireland's back-row of Stander, Josh van der Flier and Peter O'Mahony could be forgiven for licking their lips at the prospect of hunting down an untried No 10 - but the Munster loose-forward insisted Ireland must keep a close eye on France's latest prodigy.

The 19-year-old Jalibert will play alongside scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud, who will make his 32nd test appearance and will take the kicking duties at Stade de France. That's not to mention Henderson claiming the restart or the clear-out work done by the likes of Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Fergus McFadden and Toner.

France: Palis; Thomas, Lamerat, Chavancy, Vakatawa; Jalibert, Machenaud; Poirot, Guirado (capt), Slimani, Iturria, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Gourdon.

Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Dany Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Marco Tauleigne, Antoine Dupont, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall. "It was only when I came off someone said England were only five points short of the crown going to Twickenham instead of Ireland".

"It wasn't our decision", said France coach Jacques Brunel.

However Ireland's away form is patchy, while they carry the favourites tag uncomfortably. "It's the sign of a real champion to step up and go again (after his penalty miss) and that's what he is".

Owens, who had a poor afternoon, was not to blame for this incident as he was put in a very hard position by the doctor, but it poses so many questions about the misuse of the HIA.

Ireland have only won three times in Paris in 40 years, but Brunel has installed Schmidt's side as favourites for the encounter.

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