Picking An Ireland Team To Take On France

Ireland take on France this Saturday in a crucial Six Nations encounter.

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland got their Six Nations campaign back on track in round 2 with a resounding 63-10 win over Italy. Ireland ran in nine tries against Conor O’Shea’s men, with both CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy bagging a hat-trick each.

All eyes now turn to the Aviva this weekend, with the French set to invade Dublin. Schmidt is set to be without Josh van der Flier for the tie, but is expected to welcome back Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony and Andrew Trimble. Rob Kearney also looks to have overcome a bicep injury and is in line to start.

Jackson has been one of the star performers, but it’s likely the Leinster playmaker will start. We tend to agree with this logic, as with Sexton’s injury problems it makes a hell of a lot more sense starting him and having Jackson to bring on should something go wrong. If it was the other way around, Ireland could end up in trouble.

A fit and in-form Sexton could also be the difference in winning the Six Nations or not, and it’s key Schmidt gets him back into the thick of things. This is no insult to Jackson, but his time will come. Sexton didn’t take Ronan O’Gara’s jersey off him overnight, and it will be much the same for the 25 year-old Jackson.

The back-row is another area of difficulty for Schmidt. CJ Stander is on fire at the moment and one of the first names on the team sheet. The return of Peter O’Mahony means the only player you could realistically drop for him is Heaslip. The Leinster eight however showed his worth in Rome after a disappointing game in Edinburgh.

Josh van der Flier’s spot on the bench will likely be taken by Peter O’Mahony. Craig Gilroy’s hat-trick probably won’t be enough to get him a spot in the team.

Ireland team to take on France

15. Rob Kearney
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best (c)
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Donnacha Ryan
5. Devin Toner
6. CJ Stander
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements:

16. Niall Scannell
17. Cian Healy
18. John Ryan
19. Iain Henderson
20. Peter O’Mahony
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Simon Zebo