The big concluding game of the 2020 Six Nations sees Ireland travel to Paris to try and win their fifth title, while the French will want to equal England’s current record of six championships.
Indeed, with the Red Roses travelling to Rome you’d expect them to come away with the bonus point win, meaning anything less than matching that result for France will see them come up short, while the Irish could still take it on points difference should they win and fail to get a bonus point, as long as Eddie Jones’ men fail to overcome the points difference between them which currently stands at 23.
A 17-point win for France over Wales at Stade de France was the perfect way to warm up for this match, with Antoine Dupont running the show from scrumhalf, scoring two tries of his own and creating another for captain Charles Ollivon.
That means that Les Bleus have won four of their five matches under Fabian Galthie now, as only a Scottish team with an extra man for over half the game could get the better of them at Murrayfield.
Indeed, that run includes victories over England, Italy and Wales (twice), and it seems the combination of the new management as well as the arrival of defence coach Sean Edwards is already working wonders.
They will be without winger Teddy Thomas for this one though following his hamstring injury but given the options at their disposal we wouldn’t expect that to hamper their chances.
Ireland kept their title hopes alive when securing a bonus point win at Lansdowne Road last weekend. However, it was in their penultimate game that Andy Farrell’s tactics became exposed at Twickenham, and even that 24-12 scoreline was perhaps a little flattering.
In fact, that result means they’ve now lost four of their last five trips to opposition, with that sole victory coming over Wales in a World Cup warm-up fixture, while they don’t have the best of records at the three strongest teams in this tournament either - France, Wales and England.
Indeed, they’ve gone just W4-D1-L9 from their 14 such Six Nations trips since the start of 2011, including six defeats from their last eight and that doesn’t bode well for their chances of lifting silverware this Saturday.
France 1-5 Point Winning Margin
Six of those nine defeats came by 12 points or fewer and that’s how we feel this one will turn out as well. It’s also worth mentioning, that Ireland have only once lost to France over the last eight years, but with this being by far the best French outfit we’ve seen over that period we wouldn’t look into that too much, while there has been a maximum of just two points separating the sides in the four meetings they’ve had in France over that period.
With that in mind, we’ll side with the 1-5 point winning margin for the hosts, in a game that will likely be decided by the finest of margins.