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Galthie reveals Sexton pre-game comments used as fuel by French

By PA
Johnny Sexton (Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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France head coach Fabien Galthie has revealed pre-match comments from injured Ireland captain Johnny Sexton helped fuel his side’s display.

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Les Bleus significantly boosted their chances of a first championship title since 2010 by halting Ireland’s winning run at nine games with a spell-binding performance in Paris, taking a hard fought game 30-24.

Fabien Galthie’s table-toppers are the only team still in contention for a tournament clean sweep heading into a two-week break before round three.

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And now Galthie has said that comments made in the lead-in to the game in Paris made by the sidelined Leinster flyhalf were used as motivation by Gatthie and his team.

Sexton, who was ruled out by a hamstring injury and watched from the stands, said: “We obviously don’t want an incredible atmosphere because it means normally they’re going well, we want more silence this week.”

It might seem like much but it was enough for the former scrumhalf.

Galthie said: “Maybe the captain [Sexton] was ambitious, trying to encourage his team.

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“We hear that. I shared it with the players and we said ‘we’ll see what happens on the field’.

“That’s what matters. Whatever you say, what matters is what happens on the field.”

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Meanwhile Antoine Dupont insists talk of a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam is premature, despite Saturday’s thrilling victory over Ireland.

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But captain Dupont – who sparked a pulsating Stade de France encounter with a try after just 67 seconds – is not getting carried away.

“We’re not going to talk about a Grand Slam for now,” said the reigning world player of the year.

“We’re going to focus on the next match, we know the challenge, we have our work cut out, we’re going to rest for a while and then prepare for the match.”

France travel to Scotland on February 26 and then have a trip to Wales before hosting England in the tournament finale.

Les Bleus have finished runners-up in the past two championships, having suffered damaging defeats to the Scots on each occasion.

Scrum-half Dupont is determined to make amends at Murrayfield in a fortnight’s time.

“I think we have all learnt from the last two editions where we maybe lost the tournament after defeats to Scotland,” said the 25-year-old.

“We know their team well. We will prepare this match, hoping we will be able to play for something nice in a month’s time.”

 

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