Five sporting events to follow this weekend
Love might be in the air this weekend with St Valentine's Day falling on Sunday but despite the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, there is still plenty of sporting action to keep fans entertained.
Six Nations: Ireland v France
Ireland face France in the second round of the Six Nations rugby championship this Sunday. As expected, Athlone's Robbie Henshaw has retained his place in the Irish team, following his highly impressive display in the defeat to Wales last weekend.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton and vice-captain James Ryan are not considered for selection as they have not hit all their markers this week in the return to play protocols. Billy Burns starts in the pivotal out-half positon instead of Sexton, while Iain Henderson captains the team.
The Ireland v France match will be televised on Virgin and ITV (kick-off 3pm). The French emerged as 50-10 winners over Italy in Rome last weekend.
Ireland team (v France): 15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD); 14. Keith Earls (Munster/Young Munster), 13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD), 12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers), 11. James Lowe (Leinster); 10. Billy Burns (Ulster), 9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster); 1. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf), 2. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch), 3. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD); 4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne), 5. Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy, captain); 6. Rhys Ruddock (Leinster/St Mary’s College), 7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD), 8. CJ Stander (Munster/Shannon).
Replacements: Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne), Ed Byrne (Leinster/UCD), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf), Ultan Dillane (Connacht/Corinthians), Will Connors (Leinster/UCD), Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon), Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD), Jordan Larmour (Leinster/St Mary’s College).
Australian Open tennis
The first Grand Slam of the year is taking place in Melbourne at the moment. At the time of writing, defending men's champion Novak Djokovic (winner of eight Australian Open titles overall) is still in contention. However, 2020 women's champion Sofia Kenin of the United States has been knocked out.
Fans have been enjoying the action in the stands in Melbourne but with the state of Victoria going into a strict lockdown, this is coming to an end for at least five days. In any case tennis fans in Ireland can still follow the action on Eurosport.
Horse racing from Punchestown
On Sunday, TG4 will be in Punchestown to broadcast their St Valentine’s Day meeting at the iconic Kildare racecourse. Beginning at 2.45pm, five races will be shown live with the first race broadcast at 3pm.
Along with the five live races, there will also be a chance to see the first two races replayed in full during the afternoon’s broadcast. The day’s main event is the sixth race at 4:30pm, ‘The Punchestown Grand National Trial Handicap Steeplechase’.
Premier League: Manchester City v Tottenham
Manchester City look the likely winners of this season's Premier League and they meet Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow evening (Saturday) at 5.30pm.
Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton on Wednesday night and their recent form has been disappointing. But Jose Mourinho's charges did beat City in the league earlier in the season. Also on Saturday, Leicester City host defending champions Liverpool (12.30).
Six Nations: Scotland v Wales
Fresh from their shock victory over England in Twickenham, Scotland take on Wales in Murrayfield on Saturday (kick-off 4.45pm), while England will be looking to banish the memory of their poor display last weekend when hosting the Italians in Twickenham on the same day (2.15).