France’s Vincent Debaty  made a big impact on his introduction against Ireland and had a hand in the French try. Photo: Franck Fifefrank/AFP/Getty

Last Monday I highlighted the crucial timing of the bench’s entry. This of course is only part of the story. Not long ago being selected on the bench (...)

RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 14/2/2015Ireland vs France Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

It was all we’ve come to expect from modern-day Test rugby, brutally physical, suffocatingly tight, as taut as a wire and absorbing until the very fin(...)

Ireland’s Mike Ross holds on to the shorts of French winger Teddy Thomas to make a vital tackle during the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 7:17

THE BREAKDOWNIreland were outplayed here and had to send extra numbers in to try and hang on to possession. As a result France had a numerical superio(...)

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre. “He may  be a practical coach but the French media stone him for his inability to settle upon a team.” Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Only place to begin is at the end of Paris. When the Ides of March were overcome.Sexton had been carted off (not an omen just another reason to avoid (...)

Players push in a scrum during the Six Nations  match between Italy and Ireland at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

I try not to speak negatively about rugby. It has given me so much and I have seen it give so generously to others.There is a saying, that your best m(...)

Mathieu Bastareaud is a go-to man for France and Johnny Sexton should expect to see a lot of him on Saturday. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Although the margins between the sides have been wafer thin, sometimes non-existent in recent years, Philippe Saint-André has portrayed his team as un(...)

France’s loose head prop Eddy Ben Arous runs with the ball during a training session - he is the sole change to the French team named to play Ireland on Saturday. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP

France have named an unchanged team barring the enforced replacement of the injured Alexandre Menini with young loosehead Eddy Ben Arous, for the tri(...)

Ireland’s Tommy Bowe was frustrated against Italy on Saturday last. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho 3:25

Tommy Bowe understands the virtue of patience after last Saturday’s Six Nations Championship match against Italy. He covered substantial swathes of th(...)

Marty Moore (L) is in line to make his seventh Ireland appearance from the bench against France on Saturday. (Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire)

Marty Moore might consider getting into the ‘family business’ and starting his own almanack - the ‘k’ on the end signifies the English version, first (...)

It is believed the French are considering promoting Morgan Parra at scrumhalf to start against Ireland at The Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Getty Images. 3:25

No games seem set to define Ireland’s calendar year, and perhaps even the Joe Schmidt era, more than the meetings with the French. It was in Paris las(...)