This is not the spirit, Clare. Or maybe it is? It’s hard to be sure.
While you’re waiting for the game to start have a look at what our Michael Aylwin makes of it
The new France is on display again as Galthié hits the afterburners with a selection of huge mercurial magic in the backs, and only a slightly smaller amount in the forwards but with added anger from Le Roux and Willemse.
Gaël Fickou is moved to the wing as Arthur Vincent takes his place in the centre
It is also worth noting that there is no out-half on the bench, meaning should something happen to Ntamack, a scrum-half or fullback will be playing at pivot. You can’t say it’s not something to look forward to of a lockdown Saturday night.
For Ireland, Robbie Henshaw replaces Gary Ringrose and his broken jaw in the only change from last week’s win. This means Andy Farrell has retained Hugo Keenan after his impressive debut vs Italy – so far so good – but due to this Stockdale remains an international fullback for one more week at least. This could be something the big man comes to regret.
France: 15. Anthony Bouthier, 14. Vincent Rattez, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Arthur Vincent, 11. Gaël Fickou, 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont; 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Julien Marchand, 3. Mohamed Haouas, 4. Bernard Le Roux, 5. Paul Willemse, 6. François Cros, 7. Charles Ollivon (c), 8. Gregory Alldritt
Replacements: 16. Camille Chat, 17. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Dylan Cretin, 21. Baptiste Serin, 22. Arthur Retiere, 23. Thomas Ramos
Ireland: 15. Jacob Stockdale, 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Robbie Henshaw, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Hugo Keenan, 10. Jonathan Sexton (c), 9. Conor Murray; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rob Herring, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Will Connors, 8. CJ Stander
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
Let’s be honest, most of us are just hoping for a completely insane match here. But why not confirm my assumptions by emailing me about it or tweeting @Bloodandmud if you can avoid all the lockdown chat on there.
Welcome to the final instalment of the Super Saturday franchise as France face Ireland at the Stade de France.
England’s win over Italy places them atop the table on 18 points, with Ireland on 14 and France currently in fourth with 13 in the bank.
Simply put, if Ireland win with a bonus point, they win the whole thing – the money, the prize hiding behind Bully, and of course the 2020 Six Nations. The other permutations are:
- If the men in green win without the BP, then they will have to win by seven or more to take the Championship on points difference.
- If they win by six, they will win outright on tries scored – assuming they score at least one try tonight.
- if they win by less than six or lose, then they cannot win the Championship.
France meanwhile have a tougher task. In order to take the trophy they will need a win with both a bonus point and at least a 31-point margin. If anyone can then France ca… nope, it’s not going to happen, stop being silly.
One thing that appears certain is that at least one team will have to go like the clappers from the start, and that team in France. I for one cannot wait to see what that’s going to look like.