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On this occasion, he was relieved to avoid more Paris pain after ruining Jacques Brunel's first game as Les Bleus head coach.

The 19-year-old Jalibert will play alongside scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud, who will make his 32nd test appearance and will take the kicking duties at Stade de France.

France half-backs Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Dupont both suffered knee injuries, but were also sent for head injury assessments (HIAs). "We probably got out of jail a little bit", the 31-year-old said.

"I think he'll give us security, he's well built and has a big left boot which can be useful to us".

In the first instance, it bought extra time for France as they weighed up whether Jalibert would recover from his damaged knee (he didn't); in the second instance, with France protecting a one-point lead, it enabled them to bring experienced scrum-half Maxime Machenaud back on for the closing minutes instead of being forced into a hard reshuffle.

But when asked about the national team captain being seen at the trial, Schmidt said: "We are in no position to comment on that".

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"I'm very happy that we're no good, useless, rubbish, considered the fifth best (above only Italy) in the competition".

They were reprimanded for not following HIA protocols, although the Untoward Incident Review Group found there was "no clear evidence" France had "tried to obtain a competitive advantage". No matter how much you've prepared yourself, even if you've been here before, for any player to step out into that stadium and the noise generated, I wouldn't say it's a shock, but it's a hugely motivating factor.

And even if he doesn't turn out to be as good as a Wilkinson or Carter, Brunel believes Jalibert could at least emulate versatile former worldwide half-back Frederik Michalak, a player who made his France debut 16 years ago, just a month after turning 19.

Irish players protested the decision with Ireland outhalf Johnny Sexton arguing with match referee Nigel Owens, while TV pictures showed Dupont being helped down the tunnel by two French medical staff. Had Dupont come off with a non-head or blood injury, the Racing 92 player would not have been allowed back on.

Favourites England are looking to become the first side to win three successive outright titles, but England coach Eddie Jones has labelled Ireland as the team to beat.