The latest misfortune to befall Garry Ringrose will require at least one change in the starting squad that kicked off last Saturday’s 50-17 victory over Italy, but it will be a surprise if there are any further changes to the XV when Andy Farrell reveals his hand. at 1 p.m. today for the final of the Six Nations 2020 on Saturday evening at the Stade de France.
Robbie Henshaw, having replaced Ringrose in the 27th minute last Saturday, seems the favorite to renew his partnership with Bundee Aki.
Henshaw also replaced Ringrose midway through the opening victory over Scotland when the latter suffered a broken thumb before starting alongside Aki against Wales and England. The only other apparent option would be to promote Chris Farrell who has obviously trained very well at the HPC Ireland in Abbotstown.
If Henshaw starts, it leaves a vacancy on the bench that Keith Earls would seem best equipped to fill, as he did against Wales and England. But although Earls took part in last Wednesday’s 3pm game, the latest bulletin regarding his Monday case number indicated that he was “completing his rehab program at IRFU CHP and a decision on his availability. will be taken in the next few days. “.
If Earls is not deemed fit enough to play on Saturday, Farrell seems most likely to be named among the team’s only other midfielders or outside fullbacks.
While Stuart McCloskey is a center interior specialist, 23-year-old Shane Daly would be the most natural fit for the 23 shirt given he can play fullback, wing and center, but he’s only made 20 games. for Munster and none in the past eight weeks.
Farrell, 27, has played nine times for Ireland in the past three years since moving to Munster from Grenoble, where he played for three seasons. Granted, that still doesn’t leave specialist coverage for the final three but with Ringrose joining up with Jordan Larmour, Will Addison, Dave Kearney and, potentially, Earls on the sidelines, the closet doesn’t overflow.
Elsewhere, it’s hard to envision any further changes based on the form displayed by those who played last Saturday. Indeed, the form of Will Connors having earned him a first cap, his performance as a man of the match only strengthened his case. In addition to his line speed and tackling execution, these tackles bring down Poachers, CJ Stander, Caelan Doris and Tadhg Beirne more into the game. Beirne also impressed with his tremendous pace of work during the failure and number of tackles.
It’s a similar story on the bench, given that all of the substitutes last Saturday brought real value and played their part in resuming the initiative after Italy reduced Ireland’s lead to 24-10 as the final quarter approaches.
Rónan Kelleher (quad) is said to be in great shape again and returned to training this week, but the mobile and strong Dave Heffernan made a solid contribution to the tight and to the game. Another possible indicator is that the Mayo man was also introduced to the media on Tuesday.
Similar to Kelleher, Quinn Roux is also back in the frame and Farrell and co may choose to reinsert his physical presence on the bench, although Ultan Dillane increased his energetic effort by stealing an Italian throw so it would be difficult for him. . also.
Another at the top of his game, Jamison Gibson-Park, also called attention to his bench debut with his speed at breakdown and quick serve, as well as this skillful grubber from inside the Irish 22 for Johnny Sexton to hunt and collect.
If he is in good shape, Gibson-Park will certainly keep his place. But hamstring strains are questionable healers, and given that Irish management quickly recalled John Cooney as the fourth scrum-half on Monday, that suggests an obvious concern.
If Gibson-Park were ruled out, Kieran Marmion, after being named to the 35-man squad ahead of Cooney, would likely be next.
Fabien Galthié and Raphael Ibanez’s French think tank will name their strongest possible 23rd day at 10am Irish time on Thursday, but will face a few options to potentially reorganize their three full-backs.
Paralyzed winger Teddy Thomas has been ruled out, while full-back Anthony Bouthier is concerned after suffering a concussion at the end of the first period in France’s 38-21 win over Wales last Saturday.
Toulouse full-back Thomas Ramos, who replaced Bouthier for the second half, would again be a direct trade for him, although word from Paris is that Bouthier is on track to complete his return-to-play protocols.
The options for replacing Thomas seem twofold. The most likely would be to promote Arthur Retière, 23, the 5 ‘7 ”(1.70m) rear winger from La Rochelle who was called a French Kolbe in tribute to the Springboks World Cup winner.
“I know him from Racing,” Johnny Sexton said on Tuesday. “He can play at 9 or on the wing. He’s an exceptional athlete – quick and elusive.
Alternatively, Galthié and his colleagues could promote Montpellier center Arthur Vincent and move Gaël Fickou to the left wing, as they did for the victory in Wales in the absence of Vincent Rattez, although this selection was proved less effective in the ensuing loss to Scotland in Murrayfield.
If Vincent or Ramos are promoted to the starting XV, the brilliant young Bordeaux-Begles ahead of Matthieu Jalibert, recalled Tuesday in the team, could be appointed on the bench.
Bernard Le Roux having been rid of the foul play against Alun Wyn Jones during a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday, the peloton may well remain unchanged. The disciplinary committee considered that Le Roux “had committed an act of foul play (a violation of Law 9.12) but that he had not justified a red card”.
The only change speculated in the French media is that the departure of Mohamed Haouas and replacement Demba Bamba could switch roles.
It is also possible that the uncapped Lyon lock Killian Géraci, 21, will be named on the bench in place of Romain Taofifenua.
FRANCE (possible against Ireland): Anthony Bouthier; Arthur Retière, Virimi Vakatawa, Gaël Fickou, Vincent Rattez; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas; Bernard Le Roux, Paul Willemse; Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon (capt), Grégory Aldritt.
Substitutes: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Crétin, Baptiste Serin, Arthur Vincent, Thomas Ramos.
IRELAND (possible): Jacob Stockdale; Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Hugo Keenan; Johnny Sexton (capitaine), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Caelan Doris, Will Connors, CJ Stander.
Substitutes: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Peter O’Mahony, Jamison Gibson-Park / Kieran Marmion, Ross Byrne, Keith Earls / Chris Farrell.