Talking points for France vs Ireland, Wales vs Scotland in 2022 Six Nations: Johnny Sexton’s hugely significant injury absence, will sloppy France’s sensational backline step up? Under pressure Wales needing “improvements across the board”, Scotland seeking first Cardiff win since 2002

By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 12/02/22 1:34pm

Joey Carbery, Antoine Dupont and Dan Biggar will each have major roles to play in the Six Nations this weekend

We look at some key talking points ahead of France vs Ireland and Wales vs Scotland in the Six Nations on Saturday, including Ireland’s Sexton-less task and an under-pressure Wales…
Sexton’s injury absence an enormous blowWhen previewing France vs Ireland ahead of Saturday, the only place to start is with the injury to Irish skipper Johnny Sexton.The 36-year-old out-half has been absolutely critical to the way in which Ireland have performed under Andy Farrell during the last two Test windows in November and this Six Nations, playmaking to a sensational degree as Ireland have produced free-flowing attack. Ireland currently have the greatest depth they perhaps have ever had across the general squad, but if there was one area they could have ill-afforded an injury, it was to Sexton.Everything goes through the No 10, whose ability to call the right attack moves, decide when to place-kick, defend strongly and – most crucially – execute planned strike-plays is of the highest standard. A hamstring strain picked up in training on Wednesday has ruled Johnny Sexton out of the trip to Paris Loop plays, out-the-back passing, and wraparound moves have become synonymous with Ireland and Leinster because of Sexton, and the speed with which Ireland have pulled them off over their current nine-Test winning run has caused the likes of England, New Zealand, …