France teen Jalibert to debut against Ireland

Katrina Barker
February 3, 2018

Captain Rory Best will lead the squad through their paces at the traditional eve of game run out at the match venue, the Stade de France.

While the selections of Aki and Stockdale were expected, it is an unusual number, not least in the second-row given the experience Devin Toner as who drops down to the bench.

Teen flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert and fullback Geoffrey Palis will make their test debuts in France's Six Nations opener against Ireland on Saturday.

Flanker Josh van der Flier comes in for the absent Sean O'Brien, not yet fit after undergoing hip surgery.

Pierre Rabadan from Infosport discussed the upcoming match with Nicolas Souchon and Adrien Toubiana of Canal+ and the young Ireland pair of James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale both got positive mentions.

Injuries during the Six Nations are one thing, but the fact they are a major talking point even before this season's edition kicks off highlights the increasingly brutal nature of professional rugby union.

The 21-year-old Ulsterman scored three tries as the Irish province narrowly failed to progress from Champions Cup Pool 1, while Aki's try against Oyonnax helped Connacht secure a home quarter-final in the Challenge Cup.

'You grow up watching the Six Nations games and you hear the noise on the TV as a fan, but stepping into the arena as a player, it is totally different.

"We're not the favorites, we know that", Brunel said. I don't think there is any better place to be than in between Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw.

"We're not so much caught up with expectations and pressure". They just go out and they play, and they play with confidence.

"That is probably one of the big lessons for us from past year: the autumn form". There are probably going to be times when there are small setbacks, that's natural, but then it's about how people respond.

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