Six Nations 2022: France and Ireland Preview, Team News & Key Stats

Joey Carbery of Ireland starts at fly-half against France
Johnny Sexton is replaced by Joey Carbery at fly-half for Ireland. This was his first start in Six Nations.
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday, February 12 Kick-off:16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster; Text commentary on BBC Sport website and app. Highlights and text commentary.

France will take on Ireland in Paris on Saturday without their captain Johnny SextonAfter the fly-half was a strong player, he injured his hamstring during training.

Ireland is aiming to win their first victory in France since 2018, when they were a surprise winner. last-minute Sexton drop-goalIreland secured victory and is now on the way to a Grand Slam.

After their impressive opening wins, the teams are now considered to be the two top contenders for this year's Six Nations.

France defeated Italy 37-10 and Ireland beat Wales 29-7, respectively.

Ireland is seeking a 10th consecutive victory, but they have lost their two matches against France since Andy Farrell took over as head coach. Their last defeat was against Les Bleus, Dublin, last February.

One thing is certain: Saturday's winners will soon be favourites for the title.

France vs Ireland team news

France made two changes to their starting side against Italy. Yoram Mofaana replaced Jonathan Danty, who was injured. Francois Cros is the blindside flanker to Dylan Cretin, who falls to the bench.

Sexton is replaced by Joey Carbery of Munster as fly-half. James Ryan, lock, takes the lead for the fifth time.

Carbery (26), was injured and missed 2 years of rugby between 2019-2021. She underwent elbow surgery two month ago, but she played 17 minutes of the win over Wales last week.

Connacht fly-half Jack Carty, who is expected to make his first appearance in Ireland since the 2019 World Cup from the benches, will be making his debut.

A Six Nations second round graphic. Saturday: Wales v Scotland - 14:15 kick-off - BBC One, BBC iPlayer and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. Saturday: Ireland v France - 16:45 kick-off - ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live. Sunday: Italy v England - 15:00 kick-off. ITV and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
Six Nations Rugby Special on BBC Two, Sunday 18:00 GMT

Commentator's notes: How much will Sexton be missed by you?

Andrew Cotter: “If this match was to take place on neutral ground, Ireland would currently have the advantage – they won the opening weekend by sweeping past a troubled Wales. France took time to get into their stride against Italy.

“One notable absence, however, may have tipped it in favour of Paris' home side with the announcement that Johnny Sexton has been ruled out by a hamstring injury.

“Yes, Joey Carbery can be a skilled understudy at fly half, but this could become a contest in which the presence of big names is required. Few will forget Sexton's last-second drop-goal to win after more than 40 phases. It was four years ago.

“Yet, this Ireland is about much more than one player – a machine in which all parts work so well. It will be fascinating to find out if France, with its very obvious talents of Antoine Dupont, can operate in an equally efficient, cohesive manner.

So, relax and enjoy the best of the northern hemisphere. This is where the winner will be the favourite to win the title.

A Six Nations table showing: 1. France P 1, W 1, D 0, L 0, PD 27, B 1, Pts 5; 2. Ireland P 1, W 1, D 0, L 0, PD 22, B 1, Pts 5; 3. Scotland P 1, W 1, D 0, L 0, PD 3, B 0, Pts 4; 4. England P 1, W 0, D 0, L 1, PD -3, B 1, Pts 1; 5. Wales P 1, W 0, D 0, L 1, PD -22, B 0, Pts 0; 6. Italy P 1, W 0, D 0, L 1, PD -27, B 0, Pts 0

View from both camps

France head coach Fabien Galthie: “Ireland arrives with a good string of wins, with the status as European number one and three in the world. Therefore, they are the most formidable European opponent at the moment. Followers of rugby are extremely proud of our opponent. This makes it imperative that we have the willpower, and belief, to elevate our level in all aspects.

Andy Farrell, Ireland coach, discusses Sexton's absence “We are not one player. It never was, it will never be. We want to grow as players and make sure that we approach every match in the same way. It's a wonderful development for us as an organization going forward, and we still expect to be at our best Saturday in Paris.


France:Jaminet; Penaud Fickou Moefana, Villiere (capt); Baille.

Replacements: Mauvaka, Gros, Bamba, Taofifenua, Flament, Cretin, Lucu, Ramos.

Ireland: Keenan; Conway, Ringrose, Aki, Hansen; Carbery, Gibson-Park; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan (capt), Doris, Van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Sheehan, Healy, Bealham, Henderson, O'Mahony, Murray, Carty, Henshaw.

Ireland have not beaten France without Johnny Sexton in the team since 2009.

Match facts


  • Ireland won Paris three times in Six Nations, all by a margin two points.


  • France has won the two Six Nations matches against Ireland after a run of just one win in eight previous meetings (D1,L6).
  • France has scored six tries during the two previous encounters. This follows a run that saw five tries in five matches.
  • Gregory Alldritt had 22 carries in 73 minutes against Italy.


  • Ireland hopes to achieve 10 Test victories in succession, as France was last time they beat them.
  • In 2009, Ireland beat France 1-0 without Johnny Sexton.
  • This is Ireland’s first away game in eight Tests.
  • Mack Hansen won the title of player-of-round one. He carried 10 times and made a round record at 149 metres. He also beat three defenders.

Match officials

Referee:Angus Gardner (Australia).

Touch judges Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand) & Craig Evans (Wales)

TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

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