Ireland’s Sophie Spence enjoys the moment after her side’s bruising World Cup opener against the USA at Marcoussis in Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Fullback Niamh Briggs kicks 13 points and adds a try as Philip Doyle’s side survive physical onslaught

 Ireland’s Sophie Spence celebrates after victory over the USA in Marcoussis, Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan / Inpho

Tries from Ailis Egan and Niamh Briggs help Ireland secure a 23-17 victory over the USA

 Aurelien Rougerie of ASM Clermont Auvergne was among three France internationals violently attacked  with ‘knives, machetes and sabres’.  Photograph:   Harry Engels/Getty Images

France internationals Benjamin Kayser, Julien Pierre and Aurelien Rougerie hospitalised

Toulon outhalf Jonny Wilkinson: doubt against Munster with hamstring injury. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Perpignan on verge of relegation after defeat to European champions

Yoann Huget bowls over Brian O’Driscoll during France’s Six Nations decider against Ireland. The Toulouse man will feature at fullback against Munster.

It’s testament to Munster’s standing in Europe that several Toulouse players are happy to talk themselves up as underdogs

President of reigning Heineken Cup champions Mourad  Boudjellal is of Algerian origin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Mourad Boudjellal refuses to take his side to Béziers after town voted far-right party into power

France gracious in defeat as no one prepared to argue that Schmidt’s men did not deserve their victory

Young French  centre Gael Fickou will line out opposite Brian O’Driscoll  at Stade de France. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

France coach not keen to give too much away ahead of Paris showdown with Ireland

Maxime Medard in action against England. The France winger accepts that  critics of his side’s play this eaosn have a valid point. Photograph:  Martin BureauAFP/Getty Images

France winger first spotted the Irish centre playing in 1998

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