It’s entirely plausible that this is the Six Nations decider right here with arguably the two strongest sides going head-to-head.
Ireland are looking incredibly dominant at the moment and are currently on a run of nine successive victories, their greatest run since the beginning of 2018, despite facing all of Scotland, England, New Zealand, Japan (twice), Argentina and Wales in that time.
They made their clash against Wales last weekend look routine with a 22-point victory, and confidence must be flowing through the camp right now.
France were somewhat lacklustre despite victory over Italy, though that can happen with months away from international competition. Their 27-point win came courtesy of 14 points in the final 13 minutes, with Italy not put the sword as many expected.
We would take that performance with a pinch of salt, however, with the victory all but secured even before a ball was kicked, and we’d expect concentration levels to be higher against a more dangerous opponent like Ireland.
France To Win
Ireland have been forced into one change as Johnny Sexton misses a second successive Six Nations clash with France, with Joey Carberry coming in to replace him and make his first Six Nations start.
While Sexton is a big loss at five-eighth, Carberry is a more than capable replacement, and has proven that when given the opportunity to start against Argentina in November, as well as in victories over Japan and USA last year.
Of Course, this is a much sterner test of Carberry’s abilities, though France should still be fearful of what he can produce.
Yoram Moefana is one of two changes to Fabien Galthie’s side at 12, as Francois Cros also comes in at 6. Galthie is obviously aware of the threat that the Irish forwards pose with their physicality, and the French coach has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench in order to have ample replacements up top.
This will be a game of fine margins, and while the visitors may win the forwards battle, the backs play will likely be dominated by Les Bleus. As the game wears on, we’d expect the hosts to have the upper hand with almost their entire pack fresh, and with the backing of the home crowd in Paris, that could easily spur them on to victory.
France have won each of the last two meetings, including the last clash here in 2020, and we’ll back them to make it three in a row.
FRANCE TO WIN