France coach Jacques Brunel has named an unchanged XV for his sides meeting with Ireland in the Six Nations on Sunday. He has opted to give Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack another chance in the half back positions.
The duo put on superb displays of rugby in their most recent Six Nations game against Scotland when they beat Gregor Townsends men confortably 27-10 at the Stade De France. The pair will be put under pressure here again in what will be a big game for both sides. Brunel speaking in a news conference said “The context will be different and I hope our pack will put the halfbacks in good conditions”.
The team sees Thomas Ramos at full back and he will be expected to cover kicks from Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray. I fully expect Ireland to kick a lot in this game and put pressure on the French backs. Damian Penaud and Yoann Huget will start on the wings again, while in the centre, Mathieu Bastaraud will partner Gael Fickou. Ntamack will then partner Dupont in the half back positions. In the forwards then Jefferson Poirot will start in the front row, along with captain Guilheim Guirado at hooker. Demba Bamba who was named man of the match against Scotland will start at tighthead prop, he will be expected to make a lot of carries once again. In the second row Sebastian Vaahaamahina will partner Felix Lambey, while at 6 and 7 Wenceslas Lauret and Louis Picamoles are once again selected to start.
On the bench players like Camille Chat, Maxime Meddard and Baptiste Serin will all likely come on as replacements.
Speaking ahead of the game Brunel said his side will have to be more consistent and be able to produce another performance like that when they played the Scots, he said “We will have to make smart choices. They have a very efficient defence and they are very good in the rucks,” We need to be more consistent and be able to reproduce what we did against Scotland.”
France (v Ireland): Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Mathieu Bastareaud, Gael Fickou, Yoann Huget, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (captain), Demba Bamba, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Felix Lambey, Wenceslas Lauret, Arthur Iturria, Louis Picamoles.
Replacements: Camille Chat, Etienne Falgoux, Dorian Aldegheri, Paul Willemse, Gregory Alldritt, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Belleau, Maxime Medard
France XV to play Ireland: