RECAP: France v Ireland
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to our coverage of the Six Nations Round Five match between France and Ireland in Paris.
Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray have been the benchmark for many as the standout halfback partnership in Test rugby over the last decade but on Saturday they will face a challenge to that mantle as they come up against the young pretenders of France – Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack.
Sexton and Murray will start at flyhalf and scrumhalf respectively for the 61st time at the Stade de France – 63rd if you include two Tests for the British and Irish Lions – whilst for Toulouse duo Dupont and Ntamack, it will be just their 11th pairing.
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France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Vincent Rattez, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Arthur Retitere, 23 Thomas Ramos.
Ireland: 15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Hugo Keenan, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Will Connors, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Chris Farrell.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Matthew Carley (England), Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Luke Pearce (England)