Jalibert, Palis make debuts in France team against Ireland

Katrina Barker
February 6, 2018

Injuries: France lost their debutant fly-half Matthieu Jalibert after 30 minutes, the 19-year-old hobbling off with a knee injury after a collision in contact with Bundee Aki.

"I don't think he was really thinking about the history or the success of his drop goal attempts were, I think he just stepped up and seized the moment and he did it with absolute aplomb".

France were reprimanded for not following HIA protocols relating to a change of props during the conclusion of their Six Nations victory over Wales in Paris a year ago. "It was nothing short of a disgrace!", tweeted former Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll.

"The HIA Review Processor is reviewing a number of incidents from the France v Ireland match in the senior men's championship", said Six Nations Rugby Limited (SNRL) in a statement.

"We're up against a team in full confidence who had a great previous year (2017), beating England and winning all their November tests", he said.

Maxime Machenaud will partner Jalibert at half-back but Brunel insisted that choice was more about the Racing 92 scrum-half's current form than to offset his teenage partner's inexperience. Twenty minutes after giving Ireland the lead, Sexton stepped up again to put yet more daylight between the two sides after Yacouba Camara was penalised.

He had no cause for complaint this time.

For 10 terrible minutes at the Stade de France, they were in for a awful loss together.

How would the French respond?

Yet people in the game will rightly feel disgusted if they believe that the HIA law - commendably introduced to prioritise player welfare - is being abused.

For Sexton, this was truly iconic moment in his career. Belleau was left with a simple conversion to give France a 13-12 lead. How costly that miss proved to be as Ireland worked their way back up the pitch, phase after phase, Sexton applying the final coup de grace as time stood still at the Stade de France.

In what can already be described as a remarkable career, Nigel Owens will achieve another milestone tomorrow in Paris when he takes charge of the NatWest 6 Nations clash between France and Ireland.

France: Palis; Thomas, Lamerat, Chavancy, Vakatawa; Jalibert, Machenaud; Poirot, Guirado (capt), Slimani, Iturria, Vahaamahina, Lauret, Gourdon.

Both Best and Henderson featured on the 2017 Lions tour alongside tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong, who starts in an all-Lions front-row, while Leinster's Josh van der Flier starts at openside flanker in the injury-enforced absence of Sean O'Brien, with Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander joining him in the back-row.

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