Contepomi says Ireland will need to find another gear against France

Leinster have to plan without 16 players – and injured Connors – for visit of Edinburgh

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi has said Andy Farrell's Ireland have been a "joy to watch" over the past few months.

Having enjoyed an unbeaten run through last November's Autumn Nations Series – including a comfortable victory at the expense of Contepomi's native Argentina – Ireland kick-started their Six Nations Championship campaign with a 29-7 bonus point triumph over Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Contepomi expects them to encounter a strong resistance from France in Saint-Denis this weekend, but he believes they are in a good position to meet this challenge head on.

“Ireland, it’s a joy to watch them. Especially when you watch the other games, I think it’s very brave. They kept on building from where they left in the Autumn Series. It’s hard to play at that level with such cohesion and synchronisation, the braveness of them playing the ball. It was beautiful to watch,” said Contepomi.


“I think they’re in the right way. Knowing some of the players and knowing some of the staff, I’m pretty sure they understand that they’ve done well but they know they have another gear to go and they will need it in France. It’s never easy, but it’s a joy to watch.”

Of the 36 players Farrell has selected in his squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to France, no fewer than 16 hail from Leinster.

In addition to being without this cohort for Friday night's United Rugby Championship clash against Edinburgh at the RDS (kick-off 6pm), the province will also be shorn of the services of openside flanker Will Connors.

The Kildare native made his first Leinster start in over a year in a defeat away to Cardiff Blues last Saturday week, but subsequently suffered a knee ligament injury that could rule him out for as long as 10 weeks.

“It’s one of those unlucky things. You want to find a reason why, but sometimes there’s not much reason. He has been working really hard to come back and now he’s picked up an injury. I’d say it will be eight to ten weeks off, but it’s part of that resilience he needs to build and he’s building,” Contepomi added.

“It looks innocuous, going to clean a ruck, but it’s the thing of this game. I feel sorry for him, but I’m sure he’s in a good mood and we know he’ll come back stronger.”