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WATCH: Ireland Blow Resilient France Away | Report & Highlights

Ireland outclassed and out-muscled France in the penultimate match of the Six Nations

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Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Ireland have beaten France 26-14 in Rory Best and Joe Schmidt’s final Six Nations home game at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

The win ensures that Ireland remain in the hunt to retain their Six Nations championship next weekend against Wales.

Before the game started, Rob Kearney was pulled from the team with Jordan Larmour taking his place at full-back and Andrew Conway sitting on the bench.

Despite the late change the hosts started brilliantly, with Best being bundled over by James Ryan in the left corner in the third minute following a penalty to the corner from Johnny Sexton.

Sexton stepped up to deliver a magnificent kick through the posts from the left touchline.

After that it was all Ireland as they camped themselves in the French 22.

There were a couple of injuries on both sides, most noticeably Josh van der Flier heading off with a leg injury and Jack Conan coming on after 24 minutes.

France were warned time and time again about the number of penalties they had conceded in their 22 and Demba Bamba was lucky not to be sin-binned as Ireland crossed for their second try on 30 minutes.

With the penalties building up Ireland set up a line-up maul which Murray took the ball from and sent it to Sexton. Who in turn sent it to Ringrose while wrapping around before receiving the ball back and darting over for a try which he converted himself to make it 14-0.

Six minutes on and it was Conan who made it three tries before the break after a number of Irish carries which he finished, powering through two French players.

Sexton narrowly missed the conversion meaning it was 19-0 to Ireland at half-time.

After the break it was France who began the better, putting pressure on but getting no reward.

Instead, it was Ireland who secured their bonus-point through Keith Earls who was sent through a gap by CJ Stander following a line-out and accelerated past the French defence to touch down.

Sexton scored the extras and at 26-0 Ireland made five changes.

The changes were working with Ireland again camped on the French line and Dorian Aldegheri receiving a yellow card after taking down the scrum on three occasions.

It took until the 77th minute for France to come alive with Yoann Huget racing through the Irish defence to score, Bestiste Serin tipped the conversion over.

With the clock in red France got another score through Camille Chat, again Serin converted to leave the score at 26-14 at full-time.

After the game, man of the match James Ryan admitted Ireland will go to Wales with confidence, but they will have to be better.

“Wales are such a quality team and we’ve seen how good they have been this year. So, we are happy with today and as I say there are definitely areas we could be better at, it’s shaping up to be a good one next weekend,” he said.

Captain Rory Best confirmed this will be his final home game in the Six Nations following his teams win.

“It will be my last home game in the Six Nations. On one hand, it’s bitterly disappointing to know that you’ll not play out here in a Six Nations game again but on the other hand it was a great way to goo out,” he said.

The win now means that Ireland will be in with a chance of winning the championship next weekend with a win over Wales coupled with anything but a win for England over Scotland. While the loss now means that France sit in fifth place, level on points with fourth placed Scotland.

We ran our eyes over the players and gave their our ratings out of 10. You can check them out by clicking here.

Match Highlights:

6 Nations

Wales Dealt Six Nations Double-Blow

Wales’ Six Nations title defence has been dealt a massive blow already with two stars facing surgery to fix injuries picked up on international duty

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(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wales will be without both Jonathan Davies and Rhys Patchell for some part of the 2020 Six Nations campaign due to injury it has been confirmed.

Davies, a key member of the Welsh squad for the past number of seasons sustained a knee injury during Wales’ recent Rugby World Cup campaign, and Scarlets have announced that he will undergo surgery on the injury.

The recovery time for the for the centre is set to be six months, meaning he will miss the entire Six Nations tournament in what could be a critical blow as they look to defend their title. While it also means that he could potentially miss the entire club season for Scarlets.

As for Patchell, things aren’t as severe as Davies, but the fly-half is still set to miss the start of the Six Nations with a shoulder injury, which he too will have surgery on.

He is expected to miss between 12-16 weeks due to the injury in what is a cruel blow for a player that has suffered with injury previously, but had shown some brilliant form in recent times.

It is a far from ideal start to life at the helm for new head coach Wayne Pivac as he heads into his first tournament with the team.

As well as these injuries there are also further concerns regarding the likes of stars Liam Williams and Josh Navidi, who are both currently sidelined through injury, with the former looking likely to miss some part of the Six Nations.

Wales are looking to bounce-back during the tournament following a fourth-place finish at the World Cup, with all players hoping to impress Warren Gatland’s successor.

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Munster Star in Six Nations Fitness Race

Munster have confirmed that one of their key men is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines which could put his Six Nations spot in doubt

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Munster fly-half Joey Carbery is set for yet another spell in the sidelines according to head coach Johann van Graan due to injury.

Van Graan confirmed that Carbery is still suffering from an ankle injury which he sustained during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup warm-up game against Italy and is not able to put a return date for his comeback  due to the nature of the injury. 

“He is going to be out for some time. We got to make sure he gets his strength back and we get that ankle fully functional. From Joey’s point of view, obviously, he wants to play but his body is not right. Because of the type of injury he is definitely not going to be back in the next few weeks, I can tell you that,” he said on Carbery. 

The out-half was selected ahead of Leinster’s Ross Byrne in Ireland’s World Cup squad despite carrying the injury. However, it was reiterated throughout the tournament that he had fully recovered, which now appears to be untrue. 

His head coach also told reporters that the 23-year-old will not undergo surgery on the injury. When asked about the possibility of Carbery playing before Christmas van Graan admitted he is hopeful but he cannot be sure right now. 

“I hope so. At this stage it is very difficult for the medical team to determine that. Because he has had it for quite a while the most important thing now is Joey’s health. He is a Munster player. He is under my watch now so we have got to look after him. He is very important for the national team, I believe, for the future of Irish rugby,” he added. 

It is a massive blow for the Munster player who only moved from Leinster ahead of last season, and after starting brightly in the red jersey he picked up a hamstring injury that left him out for large portions of the season. 

The fear for Carbery now however is that due to the nature of the injury and the inability to place a return date, he could face a race to be fit for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign at the start of February next year. Carbery will hopefully be back in action and back to match fitness by then as he will want the chance to impress new head coach Andy Farrell during his first tournament at the helm.

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6 Nations

Japan Could Receive Six Nations Invitation

Following their incredible performances during this year’s Rugby World Cup it appears as though hosts Japan could be set for inclusion in one of the biggest international tournaments according to reports

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Japan are to be handed an invite into the Six Nations after their impressive showing at this year’s Rugby World Cup, according to a report by the Mail Online.

The report by Martin Samuel claims that the World Cup host nation, who went all the way to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, are to “receive a shock invitation” to European rugby’s elite international competition. 

It was previously thought that a move to the Rugby Championship would make more sense and that it was on the cards as the Southern Hemisphere nations were impressed by the brand of rugby that Japan played. 

However, it appears as though the tournament organisers are hesitant to bring them into the championship straight away, and are looking to include them within the next four or five years. Which would see them join come the end of the next World Cup cycle and see them miss out on some valuable development time ahead of the tournament. 

The report is clear that although formal talks between the Brave Blossoms and the Six Nations are yet to take place that World Rugby have been made aware that leading figures within the European organisation are very interested in the prospect. 

It would be a brilliant opportunity for the Japanese as they look to expand interest in the sport within the country and are in a prime position to do so with interest at an all time high following the success of the tournament in the Land of the Rising Sun. 

They have earned respect especially within Europe following wins over Six Nations side’s Scotland and Ireland during the group stages of the World Cup with Japan now sitting ahead of the former in 8th position in the World Rugby rankings due to their performances. 

Japan were among several tier two nations backing the making of a Nations Championship which would have allowed the likes of Fiji and themselves compete against the best nations around on an annual basis and with these developments it will raise further questions as to why the competition isn’t being developed. 

We will have to wait and see how things progress over the coming weeks and months but it seems as though Japan are in with a bigger chance than ever before in being added to one of the biggest international tournaments on the planet.

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