Ireland name unchanged side for France clash

 

Ireland have named an unchanged side for Sunday's rearranged RBS 6 Nations clash with France in Paris.

Coach Declan Kidney has kept faith with the same 22 that thrashed Italy 42-10 at Aviva Stadium last weekend and that was selected for the original visit to the French capital.

Scrum-half Conor Murray has held off the challenge of Eoin Reddan, who injected pace into the game after stepping off the bench in the second half at Lansdowne Road.

Lock Donncha O'Callaghan and openside Sean O'Brien also faced fierce competition to remain in the starting XV, but Kidney has retained both.

"We took a look at how we played against Italy. We have an eight-day turnaround which has given us more time to freshen up," said Kidney.

"The errors that were made we can adjust and we'll be better for having that 80 minutes under the belt.

"The lads who came on against Italy did exceptionally well and made a hugely positive impact, but I had to weigh that up against the lads who did a lot of the unseen work earlier in the game."

Ireland's record in Paris makes for grim reading having won in the French capital just once since 1972 and twice since 1952.

Their last victory came in 2000 in a match notable for the emergence of hat-trick hero Brian O'Driscoll, who misses this year's championship after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Perennial nemesis France have emerged triumphant from 11 of the last 12 meetings.

"We've all been to hostile environments with our provinces in the past. We must drawn on that experience," said captain Paul O'Connell.

The match is being staged on the second of the Six Nations' break weekends after the original fixture on February 11 was postponed 10 minutes before kick-off due to a frozen pitch.

Ireland team to face France at the Stade de France, Paris, on Sunday, March 4 (KO 1500 GMT):

R Kearney (Leinster); T Bowe (Ospreys), K Earls (Munster), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), P O'Connell (Munster, capt), S Ferris (Ulster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), T Court (Ulster), D Ryan (Munster), P O'Mahony (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O'Gara (Munster), F McFadden (Leinster).

France team: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); V Clerc (Toulouse), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne); J-B Poux (Toulouse), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), P Pape (Stade Francais), Y Maestri (Toulouse), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz).

Replacements: W Servat (Toulouse), V Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro), L Picamoles (Toulouse), J Dupuy (Stade Francais), L Beauxis (Toulouse), M Mermoz (Perpignan).

PA

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