Saturday 24 February 2018

Six Nations Touchlines: UBL sides club together for French showdown

Six Nations Touchlines

Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Matt D'Arcy, Munster. Photo: Sportsfile

Compiled by David Kelly

Players from ten different Ulster Bank AIL clubs have been named in the Ireland Club International side by head coach Paul Cunningham for Friday's fixture against French Federale at Stade Jules Ladoumègue (Paris).

Lansdowne and Clontarf, last season's Ulster Bank League Division 1A finalists, have four representatives each in the side, which will be again be captained by Clontarf centre Matt D'Arcy.

Old Belvedere, Garryowen, UCD, Cork Con and Ballynahinch are the other teams from Division 1A supplying players. Division 1B sides Ballymena, St Mary's and Dublin University will have six representatives between them.

Rankings' rising sons

With the southern hemisphere still wallowing in post-World Cup content as they survey what may seem to them the different sport being played in the Six Nations, there was little change in the new world rankings.

The top six remain unchanged but England's away win against Scotland was rated higher than France's home win against Italy, allowing them to leap-frog Les Bleus into seventh.

The big movers were Japan, by virtue of Scotland's home defeat, with Vern Cotter's men slipping outside the top ten, with Fiji (10) and the Brave Blossoms (9) now above them.

Welsh anger at accusation

Welsh management are reportedly fuming at suggestions of gamesmanship which were put to Ireland coach Joe Schmidt by ITV before Sunday's game regarding Gareth Anscombe's less than unexpected withdrawal.

"Do you think there's possibly a little bit of gamesmanship from Warren Gatland?" Schmidt was asked.

The New Zealander replied: "Undoubtedly. That's one of the things that sometimes happens but you've just got to adjust and make sure you're ready to go no matter who the opposition are."

Welsh anger at management level is believed to be aimed at ITV for not putting the same question to Warren Gatland, as opposed to being angry at Schmidt.

Tweet of the day

"Unbelievable atmosphere to lead the team out into yesterday, thanks for all the support!!" - Rory Best thanks supporters for encouragement in his first official game as permanent Ireland captain.

Number of the day

3252 Ireland women were hoping support levels would justify the switch from Ashbourne and they will have been happy with this number on the gate as they kickstarted their title defence.

Irish Independent

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