O'Driscoll And O'Connell Both Hugely Critical Of France HIA Farce

Jacob Stockdale

Jacob Stockdale

The replacement number 9 was involved in a tackle minutes before the clock turned red in the NatWest 6 Nations opener between France and Ireland and what followed was a decision that bordered on the farcical.

Twice in this game - firstly with an injury to teenage fly-half Matthieu Jalibert and later to Antoine Dupont - French players went off with what looked like knee injuries.

"I don't think you could have written the script. England won convincingly but were still short by five points to win the Six Nations".

"Jalibert's head also collided with Aki's hip, so that HIA call was plausible, but in neither case was the match doctor on the field or able to talk to Owens directly, a situation that will surely be investigated in the review".

"The players did have knee injuries, but the independent doctor decided on the HIA".

While it was painfully obvious that Dupont had sustained a leg injury, the HIA ruling was never going to be overruled given the potential risks head injuries pose in the game.

Sexton struck a long-range drop-goal in the 83rd minute to give Joe Schmidt's side a 15-13 victory in their opening game in Paris on Saturday.

Ireland had lost control of the game and - after the HIA kerfuffle - France should have sewn it up with a penalty after 77 minutes.

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England, of course, have been crowned champions in the past two years but if any side is going to deny them an unprecedented hat-trick of titles, it is likely to be Ireland. Conor O'Shea's first Test visit to his homeland will be fraught with difficulty as the Italians have just a six-day turnaround.

The Leinster fly-half had already landed four penalties before Teddy Thomas' exhilarating long-range score, converted by Anthony Belleau, put France 13-12 ahead in the 72nd minute.

"It's quite incredible really. This year we had a chance and we took it, thankfully".

"To build that amount of phases, to keep the ball - the conditions are terrible - and then the stones on Johnny at the end was incredible".

Having all those Scarlets in the side will mean there are a lot of players high on confidence, and who are playing well for their club and have that level of consistency of playing alongside each other week in, week out.

"So he can't be unsure of himself, I think he has the necessary maturity". He's been here for two weeks now, we know his qualities, especially against the Irish kicking game. There were a couple of little things that went against us. "It was unbelievably special".

However, TV3 thought it was a good idea to do a skit on what to wear at the rugby match and people are hating on them so hard that we kind of feel bad for them.

Jones, who is famed for his psychological banter, said: "I'm excited by our prospects, particularly as we have been written off".

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