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Johnny Sexton seals late win for Ireland in Paris

Johnny Sexton seals late win for Ireland in Paris

By contrast, France arrive onto this fixture with no form, a new coach and a 19-year old fly-half in Matthieu Jalibert who only made his top 14 debut three months ago.

Scrum-half Machenaud assumed chief goal-kicking responsibilities from the start of the match, landing two penalties.

A hard week for the men in green, which had seen their captain Rory Best become embroiled in controversy after he chose to attend the trial for rape of his Ulster team-mates Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, ended in scenes of pure ecstasy as Sexton nailed a monster effort in the 83rd minute to send Irish fans dancing off into the streets of Paris and the French crying into their Pastis.

Will it or won't it?

Would Scottish success be a surprise given recent Six Nations performances?

They were reprimanded for not following HIA protocols, although the Untoward Incident Review Group found there was "no clear evidence" France had "tried to obtain a competitive advantage".

The problem is that it's nigh-on impossible to prove that Jalibert and Dupont could not have sustained a knock to the head in the tackle incidents that led to their injuries. They have an opportunity to stamp gamesmanship like this out of the game, once and for all.

Brunel said: "Given that we believed he could play at this level [by calling him up] there is no reason not to blood him". Dupont was taken off for a HIA, when replays showed the French player seemingly going down with a knee injury. "It wasn't our decision".




On a dismal night in Paris with a heavy wet ball, 45 metres is a hell of a distance to smash a drop goal and steal a win with 82.38 on the clock.

The gift that keeps on giving.

. And he called the game-defining play on his own shoulders with time long up and energy spent after 41 grueling phases.

"I thought it was pretty disgraceful", said O'Driscoll.

For their part, Ireland will be targeting the young playmaker, although South African-born British and Irish Lions flanker CJ Stander insists there would be nothing unusual about that regardless.

Referee Nigel Owens told Ireland fly-half Jonny Sexton, who scored a last-gasp drop goal to give Ireland a 15-13 win, at the time of Dupont's substitution that the matchday doctor had advised a HIA was necessary. France had used all their replacements and would not have been permitted to send Machenaud back on if a HIA was not required.

As was Keith Earls ridiculous leap over Virimi Vakatawa. He was wincing, he was limping, he'd clearly hurt his knee in a collision. Both times they were put down as HIA.

But Ireland, whose kicking game caused no end of problems to les Bleus, rarely threatened the try-line despite 68% territory and possession. "It's massive for him, incredible", said the full-back. The Azzurri open their 2018 Six Nations account by hosting defending champions England in Rome's Stadio Olimpico.


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