Six Nations 2018: France accused of abusing the HIA rule

Tuesday, 06 Feb, 2018

It's not simply a matter of getting spooked by the City of Lights, whatever form France take they will always be big, imposing physical men who love to smash the more skillful members of the opposition. The stakes were high, the pressure was on, but the players backed themselves.

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

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

With the exception of Sean O'Brien, Ireland are close to full strength for their Six Nation's opener against France in Paris.

Bundee Aki is one of three Ireland players making their Six Nations debut (Image: Getty)How will the teams line out?

The pending investigation will likely reveal if Dupont was assessed and what any results might have been but given that the obvious knee injury has been confirmed, it does cast France's use of the rule into question and whether it should have been permitted by officials.

The France vs Ireland match is today, Saturday, February 3 at the Stade de France in Paris and starts at 4:45 pm live on BBC One.

Schmidt has transformed the side since taking over in 2013 and led them to victories over all the Southern hemisphere sides, including a historic win over New Zealand in 2016.

"We want to be able to keep building in that position, it's a position we probably don't have huge depth in".

Schmidt also brought back a couple of players who missed the three Test wins last November.

Ireland R Kearney; K Earls, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Stockdale (F McFadden 74); J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy (J McGrath 60), R Best (capt, S Cronin 67), T Furlong (Jo Ryan 69), I Henderson, Ja Ryan (D Toner 67), P O'Mahony, J van der Flier (D Leavy 36), CJ Stander. Ireland narrowly lost there two years ago, 10-9, but won 22-20 on their previous visit in 2014.

Six Nations confirmed the HIA Review Processor is looking at the Jalibert and Dupont incidents.

"I'd hope that it's not".

"When (Sexton) struck the drop goal I was just willing it had enough distance to go over", said Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

"I went back to many years ago when we played Treviso away and I was in an nearly identical position and just flashed back to that", said Sexton.

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.