Six Nations: Brunel makes bold flyhalf pick to try and upset Irish

Six Nations: Brunel makes bold flyhalf pick to try and upset Irish

It's the return of the Six Nations!

French rugby has languished in the doldrums since their last Six Nations title in 2010, but asked if they are a team that can still scare Ireland, Best replied: "Absolutely - especially when you look at the way the French clubs perform in Europe and their quality".

Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt has named an experienced team including 11 Lions but has also handed three tournament debuts to Aki, James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale.

Amongst all the talk of potential Six Nations victor and losers, Lovelace went on to discuss the current state of rugby union betting, and what can be done to ensure it grows and increases its appeal: "Betting on rugby union and Six Nations has improved over the past few years but there is a long way to go for it to compete and rival the likes of football, tennis, darts and other sports that have a far higher level of activity from our punters".

"We know we're not favourites but these two weeks we've built a spirit that will allow us to compete with this team".

He previously coached Jalibert at Bordeaux-Begles.

The expansive and direct game being built by the Scots under Verne Cotter has been taken on by his successor Gregor Townsend, and their results in the autumn (including the hammering they gave a largely 14-man Australian side) posits them as the dark horses of the tournament, especially if they get off to a good start at the Principality Stadium in the first game. We don't know what they are going to throw at us.

Six Nations: Brunel makes bold flyhalf pick to try and upset Irish
Six Nations: Brunel makes bold flyhalf pick to try and upset Irish

Jalibert will have support from scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud, whose 32nd test appearance will come with goalkicking duty.

"When Ireland played Argentina they went after Sanchez, their number 10 and Bundee Aki was used to drive him at angles out of the way and make gaps through the middle, so keep an eye out for that one at the weekend", McCarry said.

Follow our live blog of France v Ireland (4.45pm kick-off) on RTÉ Online and the RTÉ News Now App, or listen to commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.

France and Ireland finished third and second a year ago on points difference.

Replacements: Pelissie, Priso, Gomes Sa, Gabrillagues, Tauleigne, Dupont, Belleau, Fall.

IRELAND: Kearney; Earls, Henshaw, Aki, Stockdale; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best (capt), Furlong, Henderson, James Ryan, O'Mahony, van der Flier, Stander.

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