Joey Carbery feels he is ‘ready’ ahead of Ireland’s trip to France after getting into the starting XV ahead of the injured Johnny Sexton.
All indications were that the skipper would be lining out at the Stade de France on Saturday for the pivotal Six Nations tie.
There was shock and surprise, however, when the team dropped on Thursday but the 36-year-old was conspicuously absent.
Sexton has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, meaning that Carbery now has a huge opportunity on his hands to impress head coach Andy Farrell.
The 26-year-old is all set for his first-ever Six Nations start and admitted he is ‘excited’ ahead of taking on Les Bleus.
‘I’m really excited for the weekend now,’ he told media ahead of the match.
I feel like I’m ready to go, both mentally and physically, training has gone really well this week and last week was good as well,’ he continued.
‘I didn’t really think about [my first start] until I was actually told.
‘We do a lot of switching in and out during training so when I was told to stay in I was excited and looking forward to getting some minutes under my belt.’
‘To be honest, over the last two or three weeks, in Portugal and the Welsh week, I was in and out a lot so I’m feeling very confident.’
The Munster star has promised to do the ‘right thing’ out on the pitch against a strong French side.
‘It’s hard to put into words but it’s getting a feel for the game, trying to make guys around me look good, yeah, try and combine everything and do the right thing,’ the former Leinster star stated.
Ireland team to face France: H Keenan; A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki, M Hansen; J Carbery, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, R Kelleher, T Furlong; T Beirne, J Ryan (capt); C Doris, J van der Flier, J Conan.
Reps: D Sheehan, C Healy, F Bealham, I Henderson, P O’Mahony, C Murray, J Carbery, R Henshaw.
France: M Jaminet; D Penaud, G Fickou, Y Moefana, G Villiere; R Ntamack, A Dupont; C Baille, J Marchand, U Atonio; C Woki, P Willemse; F Cros, A Jelonch, G Aldritt.
Reps: P Mauvaka, JB Gros, D Bamba, R Taofifenua, T Flament, D Cretin, M Lucu, T Ramos.
What is Ireland’s record in Paris like?
Overall, Ireland’s senior rugby record against France is as follows: Matches played: 100, Matches won by Ireland: 35, Matches won by France: 58, Matches drawn: 7.
Ireland’s previous Six Nations win against France came in 2018, a 15-13 victory for Joe Schmidt’s side.
In the Five Nations championship, Ireland recorded six victories over France at the Parc Des Princes in Paris between 1910 and 1928.
Wins became ever fewer after that with Ireland claiming only five wins in the competition on French soil between 1928 and 2021. These famous victories cames in 1952, 1972, 2000, 2014 and 2018.
Where can I watch the match and what time is it starting?
The game kicks off at 4.45pm on Saturday and will be shown live on Virgin Media One with coverage starting at 4pm.
What are Ireland’s chances of winning in Paris?
The bookmakers’ odds are: France to win 8/13, Ireland to win 11/8. draw 16/1.
What did the head coaches say?
Andy Farrell (Ireland): “We play the same game, we keep making good decisions. We play what is in front of us; nothing changes as far as that is concerned. Obviously Johnny (Sexton) is an important member of our group being skipper of the side. He is integral to how we push forward with many parts of our environment but at the same time this is about the group. Johnny will travel with us and be as leading (sic) as he possibly can be. It’s a great development for us as a team going forward as well and we still expect ourselves to be at our best in Paris on Saturday.”
Fabien Galthie (France): “It’s going to be a tough match. Ireland arrive on a winning streak, the status of European number one and world number three. They will be coming to Paris with the ambition of snatching victory and clearly we are going to face the toughest opponent in terms of adversity. We will have to improve in all departments on Saturday because we are going to be stretched to the limit.”