Tuesday 12 December 2017

O'Gara gets the nod for France clash

France v Ireland, Stade De France, Saturday 13 February

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has selected Ronan O'Gara to start as fly-half against France this weekend. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney has selected Ronan O'Gara to start as fly-half against France this weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Ronan O'Gara will continue as Ireland's fly-half for the crucial RBS 6 Nations clash with France and could be joined in the side by Stephen Ferris.

O'Gara starts with Jonathan Sexton, his younger rival for the number 10 jersey, included among the substitutes after recovering from the dead leg which ruled him out against Italy.

With Saturday's showdown in Paris certain to have a major impact on the title race, head coach Declan Kidney is hoping to fast-track Ferris back into the team.

The powerful Ulster forward will be given a fitness test later this week on the knee injury which prevented him from participating in the 29-11 victory over Italy.

The blindside flanker position has been left vacant with last weekend's debutant Kevin McLaughlin on standby to deputise once more should Ferris fail to pull through.

Ireland's injury problems continue with the ongoing absence of Donncha O'Callaghan, who was ruled out this afternoon as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee problem.

Leo Cullen, who proved to be a worthy deputy for O'Callaghan last Saturday, continues alongside Paul O'Connell.

Munster's Keith Earls starts on the left wing with Andrew Trimble troubled by a hamstring strain, though the Ulsterman features among a nine-strong list of replacements that will be finalised later in the week.

There are three survivors - O'Gara, John Hayes and Brian O'Driscoll - from Ireland's last successful visit to Paris, a 27-25 victory in 2000.

Hayes will move onto 99 caps at the Stade de France and is set to become the first player to reach a century of Test appearances for Ireland when they meet England two weeks later.

Ireland head to Paris seeking only their third victory in the French capital since 1952.

France opened their campaign with a comfortable 18-9 win over Scotland.

Ireland team

1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 - Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster)
3 - John Hayes (Bruff/Munster)
4 - Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster)
5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
6 - A.N.Other
7 - David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
9 - Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
10 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
11 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
15 - Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)


Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)

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