Monday, 21 May, 2018

Ireland hero Sexton relieved to avoid more Paris pain

Josh van der Flier named in strong Ireland team to play France Ireland's love for Johnny Sexton truly knows no bounds
Chelsea Rogers | 07 February, 2018, 02:00

Jonathan Sexton's dramatic late drop-goal propelled Ireland to an attritional but famous victory over France in their Six Nations Opener in Paris.

"He will be out for a least a month, maybe two", France coach Jacques Brunel said on Sunday.

For France, the day was meant to be about Jalibert, the first teenager to start a championship match at fly-half since Ireland's Billy McCombe in 1968 and, at 19 years 89 days, the youngest fly-half that France have ever fielded in a Five/Six Nations match.

Two French players, Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Dupont, suffered serious knee injuries; their tournaments are probably over.

Six Nations organisers are looking into a "number of incidents" during Saturday's match between France and Ireland in relation to use of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocol.

"That is probably one of the big lessons for us from past year: the autumn form".

"I don't think just because we won that it should be swept under the carpet".

Pochettino praises 'character' of officials after dramatic draw
Tottenham Hotspur have played out a 2-2 draw with Liverpool away from home at Anfield in the Premier League this evening. That was a decision of all of us, we think they are ready. "Because they showed the character that they showed".

Ireland had been in control in Paris thanks to four Sexton penalties until Teddy Thomas found a rare gap in the green defensive wall, jinking past Conor Murray before streaking away to score from 60 metres out.

"The big thing is how they (France) play as a team".

Jones, who is famed for his psychological banter, said: "I'm excited by our prospects, particularly as we have been written off".

And even if he doesn't turn out to be as good as a Wilkinson or Carter, Brunel believes Jalibert could at least emulate versatile former global half-back Frederik Michalak, a player who made his France debut 16 years ago, just a month after turning 19. "It's pretty hard to explain how you feel when you think you've let the game slip and then suddenly you've grabbed it", he said. "It's a position we don't have huge depth in, we've got young guys pushing through and we've given James an opportunity".

While BOD felt that Nigel Owens' officiating left a lot to be desired on Saturday, he says that the HIA issue is not the fault of the referee.

Ireland then lost flanker Josh van der Flier in the 36th minute to a knee injury as he got stuck at the bottom of a ruck but otherwise appeared to escape further injury.

It's that time of the year when Six Nations Rugby returns to our screens, with five physically intense rounds of competition spread across February and Match.

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