Ireland team vs. France: Form players rewarded and a welcome return
"It's a whole new beast."
Now that Wales and Italy are in their respective wakes, the Six Nations' two best sides are set for a collision course in Dublin, this Saturday. Andy Farrell will name his Ireland team for the game, 48 hours beforehand (on Thursday afternoon).
Ireland defeated Wales 34-10 in Cardiff while France survived a wobble or two to see off a determined Italian side, in Rome.
Talking to the assembled media at the IRFU's High Performance Centre, Ireland winger James Lowe teed up this weekend's clash with France. He commented:
"They're a world-class side, they've shown it for a good couple of years. Their nine-10 combo [Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack] is pretty scary, their back-rowers are world-class, a midfield that’s very dangerous and a back three that would put the sh***ers up most teams.
"Individually they’ve got some pretty good firepower, so hopefully they don’t string it all together. It's a whole new beast around the corner."
Ireland team expected to remain unchanged
While the Ireland team to face France is expected to be a mirror image of the XV that started against Wales, there may be a change on the bench.
Bundee Aki and Jack Conan are pressing for starts, while Matt Williams was pressing for Iain Henderson to move into the second row so Tadhg Beirne can start at blindside. We are expecting a similar XV, with Rónan Kelleher in contention for a spot on the bench.
EXPECTED IRELAND TEAM TO FACE FRANCE
15. Hugo Keenan
14. Mack Hansen
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray
1. Andrew Porter
2. Dan Sheehan
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Tadhg Beirne
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris
Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Tom O'Toole, Iain Henderson, Jack Conan, Craig Casey, Ross Byrne, Bundee Aki.
We'll be keeping track of all the team news, rumours and comments from Fabien Galthié and Andy Farrell in our live feed RIGHT HERE:
Ireland vs. France kicks off at 2:15pm on Saturday, February 11th at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin.
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