France v Ireland, Six Nations

Erica Murray
February 6, 2018

France will host the World Cup in five years time and coach Jacques Brunel appeared to have one eye on that objective with his opening Six Nations team selection for Saturday's match against Ireland.

Jalibert, 19, produced a lively performance at the Stade de France but limped off the pitch after half an hour.

What makes this late drama important was that it permitted France to bring back on Maxime Machenaud rather than see out the game without a specialist scrum-half.

"The HIA Review Processor is reviewing a number of incidents from the France v Ireland match in the senior men's championship".

It was his superb ballsy cross-field kick to Keith Earls that took Ireland out of their half and into enemy territory just as France looked set to ground Irish momentum to a halt.

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

Because I can't deal with the "Ja, that's what happens when you play an inexperienced flyhalf" comments if he doesn't... Owens initially signaled that it was for an HIA.

Key moment: France replacement fly-half Anthony Belleau misses a 77th-minute penalty to seal victory in Paris and Ireland run the ball from deep, sniffing a final throw of the dice at 13-12 down.

Referee Nigel Owens was at pains to clarify that Dupont was being removed because the independent match doctor was instructing that an HIA was needed.

Thomas collected a kick out wide, skipped past an Ireland defender and raced clear from distance before diving under the posts.

But Sexton redeemed himself in ideal fashion with the last gasp victor. "We probably got out of jail a little bit", the 31-year-old said.

"From the moment we thought he was up to playing at this level there was no reason not to pick him", said Brunel of a player who has made just 15 senior appearances since his Bordeaux debut in September.

Today's win ticks the percentage up a welcome extra point or so and also puts a slightly fairer reflection on the respective trajectory of these two teams over the past six years as France have now failed to beat Ireland three times in four attempts on their home soil.

Before Sexton was in position, Ireland went through 41 phases after starting from their own 22 metres.

Josh van der Flier gets the nod at openside flanker in the absence of the injured Sean O'Brien, while Luke McGrath is on the bench to cover scrumhalf ahead of Kieran Marmion.

Other reports by Insurance News

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