The French rugby press' take on Ireland

Guy Noves' side come to Dublin this Six Nations weekend

BY Raf Diallo 14:55 Thursday 23 February 2017, 14:55 23 Feb 2017

Midi Olympique branding at Leinster vs Stade Francais in 2013 ©INPHO/James Crombie

With two rounds of action already under Ireland's belts, the first of two Six Nations home games takes place this Saturday when France come to town.

Les Bleus gave England a run for their money on the opening weekend before edging out Scotland in Paris.

A visit to Dublin will be a big test for Guy Noves' side but how confident are the French press pre-match?

Midi Olympique's Jerome Prevot made a point of highlighting some of the feats Ireland achieved in the big win over Italy, namely the hat-tricks of tries by both CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy.

And his eyebrows have also been raised in interest by the fact that 3,000 spectators turned out to watch the 'Greens' at the stadium in Monaghan which he describes as a "little village near the border between Eire and Ulster".

After setting the scene, Prevot noted the main selection headaches for Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt prior to naming the team. One has since been cleared up with Jonathan Sexton fit enough to start ahead of Paddy Jackson.

From what Prevot appears to have witnessed at training, it seems in his eyes, that Sexton is back in the swing of things. 

The other he picked out was Rob Kearney, who ultimately has also made the starting XV. Prevot had mused about Simon Zebo's international experience at full back, pointing out that the Munster man had played there seven times out of 30 caps and never against France in that role. 

Midi Olympique also take a tactical look at the match through the eyes of Nicolas Zanardi who says of Ireland that Schmidt's side "don't have the ambition to attack from any part of the field at any moment".

Instead, Zanardi says Ireland seek to "destabilise" the opposition defence until they can create overloads.

Meanwhile, sports daily L'Equipe make a point of expressing just how peaceful Carton House is as they make their way away from Dublin city centre in search of Ireland team news from the mouth of Schmidt. 

Like most places here and in France, L'Equipe focus heavily on the fact that Sexton is starting, with the former Parisian resident returning from injury and the paper is curious to see how the Leinster player comes through an intense clash against the French.

They also make a passing note of the youthful centre partnership of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, concluding that their progress grows in every match they play. 

On Ringrose they say that the main question mark was how the young Leinster man would fare due to his lack of experience, but feel those questions are being answered with constant improvement from the player.

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week