France not worried by Sexton return


Jonathan Sexton may be seen by many as Ireland's dangerman ahead of the Six Nations clash with France, but Yannick Bru claims the fly-half will not be targeted.

Sexton was named in Joe Schmidt's starting XV for Saturday's clash in Dublin after making a full recovery from a recent calf injury.

The 31-year-old has not played since Leinster's Champions Cup draw with Castres last month, but he starts ahead of Paddy Jackson for the third game of this year's tournament.

Despite the threat posed by Sexton, his return is not something that has changed France's preparations, at least according to forwards coach Bru.

"Each time we've wanted to target him we've made big mistakes," Bru told a media conference.

"We didn't really work or speak about Sexton, we've spoken more about [Jamie] Heaslip, [CJ] Stander and [Sean] O'Brien.

"We know the big force of that Ireland team, we could see that in Italy, we could see them in Scotland.

"And Sexton was not there, so we haven't really worried about who would play fly-half for Ireland."

Dealing with the back-row trio of Heaslip, Stander and O'Brien will be a huge challenge for France, according to Bru, who is in awe of the power coming from Ireland's pack.

"It's their ability to play fast and well," he said of the trio.

"Their speed, their skills, they are fast and very skilled and they don't make many mistakes, and when they create that intensity in the game it's always a good performance.

"We will try to fight them with our defence, but we know it will be a big challenge. 

"We know how they play, they will have the position and they will make a lot of phases. We're ready to face them, we've worked on defence.

"We're convinced they will challenge us on our ability to be physically ready. We know everything about Ireland as they know everything about France.

"There won't be a lot of surprises but we're ready for the challenge."