Lunchtime Sports Update

Johnny Sexton says the Irish Rugby team are heading into the unknown as preparations continue for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against France in Paris.

The French will be playing under Jacques Brunel for the first time.

The former Italy coach has taken over from Guy Noves who was sacked just five weeks ago.


Sexton is expecting the unexpected from France…

France will be without a few of their key players.

Prop Jefferson Poirot, Scrum half Baptiste Serin and Captain Guilhem Guirado are ruled out through illness.

Soccer

West Bromwich Albion are said to have turned down a bid from Derby County for Republic of Ireland international James McClean.

The Championship promotion chasers were thought to be interested in securing the Derry native’s services on loan for the rest of the season.

McClean sat out Saturday’s F-A Cup win over Liverpool, but has played 20 Premier League games for the Baggies this season.

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Declan Rice is said to have pledged his future to Ireland.

The 19-year-old has been a subject of interest for England boss Gareth Southgate, but is said to have chosen Ireland instead.

In the meantime, he’s expected to return to the West Ham team for tonight’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace following a calf strain.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says signing a replacement for Philippe Coutinho isn’t the answer to ending a two-game losing run.

They head to Huddersfield in the Premier League tonight.

Coutinho left for Barcelona earlier this month.

Following a league defeat at Swansea and an FA Cup loss to West Brom, Klopp trusts the players he has can get them back on track.

**Klopp – Answers**

Arsenal look to move level on points with fifth placed Tottenham in the Premier League tonight.

Arsene Wenger’s side head to bottom of the table Swansea – who were surprise winners over Liverpool last week.

The Arsenal manager is anticipating a tough task ahead…

**Wenger – Tactics**

A win for Swansea would lift themselves off the bottom of the Premier League and out of the relegation zone tonight.

The strugglers managed a surprise win over Liverpool in their previous top-flight game.

Boss Carlos Carvalhal is planning another upset…

**Carvalhal – Weak Points**

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England women’s boss Phil Neville insists he’s the right person for the job.

His appointment’s been criticised as he has no experience in women’s football – or as a manager.

The former England international also posted sexist tweets in 2011 and 2012 – which he’s apologised for and has also deleted his Twitter account.

Having coached at Manchester United and Valencia, Neville’s insists he has the know-how to be a success.

**Neville – Women**

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Former Sligo manager Paul Cook will get to pit his wits against Pep Guardiola next month.

Cook’s Wigan were last night drawn to face Manchester City in the FA Cup fifth round in a repeat of the 2013 final.

With the details, Richard Newman…

**Newman – FA CUp