French teen to debut in Six Nations rugby

French teen to debut in Six Nations rugby

However, Sexton knew he had the distance and kicked a dramatic drop-goal from just inside the French half to grab an invaluable away win, just as he had for Schmidt's Leinster at Treviso in September 2012.

Fly-half Matthieu Jalibert and scrum-half Antoine Dupont were forced off with knee injuries and both players were also registered as requiring HIAs.

Belleau's conversion edged France in front but, still, Ireland were not finished as Sexton's educated right boot ensured they emerged victorious. I am no medic and I am going to go with the official match doctor. With the clock deep into the red, the Irish stand-off let fly with a drop-goal attempt from 44 metres and the ball just did enough to clear the crossbar.

The match was France's first under head coach Jacques Brunel, but the hosts struggled to produce much of their mercurial flair throughout the match and trailed 12-6 heading into the final 10 minutes.

Roars reverberated around the stadium when Machenaud was on target with an excellent penalty, reward for good work in the ruck from Jefferson Poirot but Sexton made it 9-3 at the break after Ireland lost Josh van der Flier to a knee injury.

"I was just happy to get another chance to get victory for the boys", said Sexton after his drop-goal heroics.

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Maxime Machenaud then got France off the mark with his first penalty in the 36th minute before Sexton landed his third three minutes later.

He noted 19-year-old Jalibert's debut was cut short earlier "when he, too, hurt a knee in collision with Bundee Aki's".

And Brunel is sure that Jalibert, who says he wants to emulate England's Andy Farrell, will have no problem dealing the intensity the Irish will no doubt bring to the Stade de France cauldron.

"We're up against a team in full confidence who had a great a year ago (2017), beating England and winning all their November tests", he said.

Ireland, however, had dominated the game and it was only on Thomas's splendid try that they seemed to be in difficulty.

"It was a stop-start game with a lot of penalties", he added to explain why Ireland had failed to score a try.