5 Talking Points From Ireland’s Team Selection For France Game

Joe Schmidt named his Ireland team this afternoon with a number of changes in keys positions.

Rory Best has recovered and takes his place in the front-row, while Jack McGrath also comes in pack down with the captain. The major talking point is the fact that Johnny Sexton starts after a lengthy lay-off.

Jackson has been superb, but Schmidt has gone with the Leinster star against the French to lead his back-line.

Here are the five main talking points from the selection.

1. Sexton starts

The biggest talking point from Schmidt’s selection is his decision to bring Johnny Sexton straight back into his starting line-up despite not having played for Ireland since November, and with Jackson statistically the number one performer at ten in the Six Nations this year. Whether or not this is a smart move remains to be seen. Sexton at his best will almost guarantee Ireland the win, but he will no doubt be targeted by the French. Will he last more than a cameo this time round?

2. McGrath is back

Schmidt had a big decision to make here, but we believe he’s made the right one. Healy performed really well against Italy but McGrath offers so much more in almost every department. Healy is an excellent impact sub, but McGrath needs to start against France all day long.

3. O’Mahony on the bench

Peter O’Mahony is as good a replacement to have as they get. His work-rate and sheer tenacity is incredible. The Munster captain will be an explosive impact sub, and raring to get out there and win back a spot in the starting line-up for the closing rounds.

4. Ryan is retained

Henderson returns from injury but Schmidt has seen the error he made against Scotland and retained the Munster man. Henderson is another excellent impact sub to have, but Ryan is a much better option to go with from the start against the French. His work-rate and lineout skills will be key.

5. Munster duo rewarded

Andrew Trimble returns to the fold but will have to make do with a spot on the bench due to Keith Earls and Simon Zebo’s excellent form. It’s great to see the Munster duo rewarded for an excellent tournament so far. Trimble is another excellent replacement to have, with Schmidt’s bench probably the strongest he’s had to call on in years.

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