It was all about the about the injuries. Ireland trained this morning ahead of the team announcement and with news that Johnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien, Keith Earls and Rob Kearney all trained fully today, things were very definitely looking up.
Those four, along with Simon Zebo and Andrew Trimble, had to varying degrees, been injury doubts over the past week but Joe Schmidt has now named his starting XV and it's
Sean O'Brien returns to the side in place of Tommy O'Donnell in the only forwards change from the draw against Wales but it's in the backs where Schmidt has had the most the ponder. The team had been expected at 12.30 but there was a slight delay with one position still to be nailed down following the conclusion of the morning training session.
It had been thought that Keith Earls was most likely to miss out after sustaining a concussion against Wales with Simon Zebo moving to wing. However, that's not the case and both miss out with Dave Kearney coming in alongside his brother and Trimble.
Hopes had been high that Zebo would be fit to play but although both he and Earls trained at Carton House today, neither trained at 100% and thus miss out on the match-day squad. That means that, although he had been expected to be in the Leinster team this weekend, Fergus McFadden will instead be heading for Paris to take his place on the bench at the Stade de France.
Ireland team to face France:
Backs: 15. Rob Kearney, 14. Andrew Trimble, 13. Jared Payne, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Conor Murray
Forwards: 1. Jack McGrath, 2. Rory Best, 3. Nathan White, 4. Mike McCarthy, 5. Devin Toner, 6. CJ Stander, 7. Sean O'Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Strauss, J Cronin, Furlong, Ryan, O'Donnell, Reddan, Madigan, McFadden.
More to follow.