Wednesday, April 24, 2024

France Rugby vs Ireland Rugby Predictions, Betting Tips, and H2H 02/02/2024


France Rugby vs Ireland Rugby preview

The Six Nations is back this Friday, and the first fixture of the tournament is France vs Ireland. Out of all the opening games, this could be one of the most exciting matches of the entire competition. The 2023 Six Nations winner Ireland tries to start their title defence against the 2022 champions. Whoever wins this match will be one step closer to another Grand Slam.

France has to play their Six Nations matches away from their usual home as they renovate the Stade de France for the Olympics. That means the Stade Velodrome in Marseille will be the venue, and kick-off is at 8:00 pm GMT. There is always a lot of hype for this competition as the best European teams go head to head. Heading into the Six Nations, the bookmakers have France as the favourites to win the entire competition, with Ireland a close second. The winners of this game will be the team to beat in 2024.

France Rugby vs Ireland Rugby Head-to-Head and Key Stats

Since French Rugby and Ireland appointed their managers in 2019, Fabien Galthié and Andy Farrell, this has been a standout fixture. Whether it’s in the Six Nations or other international rugby union tournaments, France vs Ireland never fails to deliver. Not only have both teams won each of the last two championships, but they have won Grand Slams. France picked up the prestigious accolade in 2022 and Ireland managed it last year. For those not familiar, a Grand Slam is when a team beats every other team en route to winning the championship. It is even more coveted than the actual championship.

Of course, that means the last two matchups are one apiece. Ireland won last year in the Aviva Stadium with a scoreline of 32-19. Ireland’s tactic that day was to keep the ball in play as much as possible to tire out the heavier French pack, and it worked perfectly. In 2022, France defeated Ireland on a scoreline of 30-24 at the Stade de France. This scoreline somewhat flattered Ireland, who got two tries against the run of play. For most of the game, the French rugby team completely dominated as they did for all of that Six Nations campaign.

We mentioned above how both these teams come into the tournament in very similar positions, well that’s true in more ways than one. First, both teams are the elite of the competition. As it currently stands in the Novibet outright betting market, France is 11/10 for the tournament while Ireland is 6/4. Considering the game between the two is in France, Le XV de France has the advantage. Little separates the sides on paper, which makes outright Six Nations predictions very difficult. The third favourite in the competition is England at 6/1, so a big drop-off.

The Irish national rugby team and the French national rugby team both come into the tournament after heart-breaking World Cup losses. Ireland was the number-one-ranked team in the world going into the World Cup. France was the host nation and was the favourite before the tournament began. The way the draw ended up, the four best teams played each other in the quarter-finals. Both Ireland and France came out on the wrong side of narrow defeats to eventual finalists, New Zealand and South Africa. They both delivered instant classics and on a different day could have progressed, but that is not of much solace to either team.

Ireland and France begin another World Cup cycle by kicking off the 2024 Six Nations on Friday night. There will be plenty of change as the IRFU said goodbye to one of the best Irish rugby players of all time, Jonny Sexton, after the World Cup last year. Jack Crowley will be the one hoping to fill his rather large boots. France will also be without their out-half as Romain Ntamack remains sidelined with an injury he picked up in a World Cup warm-up game. In an even bigger loss for French Rugby, his half-back partner and talisman Antoine Dupont will miss the entire Six Nations. Dupont is preparing to represent his country in the Rugby 7s at the Olympics.

France Rugby vs Ireland Rugby Predictions

Betting on the Six Nations can be very difficult in the opening round. The last time we saw the France or Irish national rugby team in action was over three months ago. Both endured heart-breaking losses so close to the final. We are now at the beginning of a new World Cup cycle, and that brings about change. Teams will try to find the edge that will help them go further in the competition next time around.

Any Irish rugby predictions we make will revolve around how we think Jack Crowley will do replacing Sexton as Ireland’s number ten. Likewise, any French predictions we make will come down to how replaceable we think Dupont is. Both are recent winners of the World Rugby Player of the Year award and their respective absences will leave a big hole in both squads. What it may come down to is which team can react better to losing their best player.

French Rugby players celebrating

Online betting platforms see this match as an advantage to France. They have odds of 11/20 to win and -3.5 favourites on the handicap. Betting on France seems to be the more sensible option with the support of the fans. However, with the French, the opposition can sometimes use the home crowd against them. As we all know, they have no problem starting the booing early if their team is not performing. We predict they will not have much to boo about in this game.

France Rugby vs Ireland Rugby Betting Tips

Betting on Ireland is just too much of a risk in this scenario. Crowley has played well when asked to replace Sexton in the past, and his form for his club has been decent, but this is a different animal. The French will target him early to test him, and the size and strength of the Les Blues pack could cause Crowley and Ireland a lot of problems. Maxime Lucu, Dupont’s replacement, may not be quite at his level, but the drop-off is likely not to affect the French as much.

In terms of Irish rugby predictions, we think they certainly won’t roll over, and +3.5 points is showing them a lot of respect. Especially when you consider France’s blistering home form. For our Six Nations predictions, we think Ireland is neck-and-neck with France. But in the last two years, home advantage may be the deciding factor. The -3.5 points are a little scary for anyone who wants to back France, as Ireland will cover if they are within three points at full-time. However, predict the French rugby team has got what it takes to win by four or more points.

An alternative option for this rugby match is to examine live betting. As we mentioned, betting on the Six Nations can be troublesome in the opening round, especially after a World Cup. Teams change, and we don’t know how either France or Ireland will react to their World Cup exits. This is where live Six Nations betting could become very profitable. With France, you should know within the first 20 minutes if they are in their best form. They will probably throw the kitchen sink at Ireland. If the Irish are still in the game after the opening quarter, they might be the perfect bet to spend your welcome bonus on for a big return.

France Rugby Team News and Lineup

They named the French rugby team on Wednesday afternoon, and there were some raised eyebrows at one selection in particular. One of the breakout stars of 2023, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, got benched in favour of club teammate Yoram Moefana. Especially since Moefana normally plays in the centre position. In their quarter-final loss, the South Africans targeted Bielle-Biarrey under the high ball, so perhaps Galthie is worried the Irish will do the same.

Moefana is one of four Bordeaux-Begles players in the French backs. The half-back pairing of Maxime Lucu and Matthieu Jalibert comes from the south of France club. They made five changes from the team that lost the World Cup quarter-final.

  • France Predicted Lineup: T. Ramos, D. Penaud, G. Fickou, J. Danty, Y. Moefana, M. Jalibert, M. Lucu, G. Alldritt (c), C. Ollivon, F. Cros, P. Willemse, P. Gabrillagues, U. Atonio, P. Mauvaka, and C. Baille.

Ireland Rugby Team News and Lineup

Ireland also announced their team on Wednesday, and Jack Crowley will start at ten alongside Leinster’s Jamison Gibson-Park. In what will come as a shock to some, youngster Joe McCarthy got the nod ahead of fellow clubmate James Ryan. They considered Ryan a replacement for Sexton as captain, but he will watch from the bench.

There are not too many surprises elsewhere as Farrell has picked what many would consider his strongest 15. Calvin Nash will earn only his second cap as he beat out competition from Jordan Larmour and Jacob Stockdale to replace the injured Mack Hansen. His usual replacement, Jimmy O’Brien, will also miss the entire Six Nations with a neck injury.

  • Ireland Predicted Lineup: H. Keenan, C. Nash, R. Henshaw, B. Aki, J. Lowe, J. Crowley, J. Gibson-Park, C. Doris, J. van der Flier, P. O’Mahony, T. Beirne, J. McCarthy, T. Furlong, D. Sheehan, and A. Porter.