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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Ireland vs France Preview and Suggested Bets – 11/02/2023

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Six Nations: Ireland vs France – Saturday, 2:15pm

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France fly-half Romain Ntamack claimed this week that Ireland are “comfortably favourites” to win Saturday’s Six Nations clash – and it’s hard to disagree with him.

Andy Farrell’s charges easily overpowered Wales in their opening game, winning 34-10, while Les Bleus stuttered to an unconvincing 29-24 victory over Italy in their opener.

Ireland have lost influential hooker Dan Sheehan to injury.

Rob Herring has been selected to replace Sheehan in the only change to the team which beat Wales, with the fit-again Ronan Kelleher added to the replacements.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is eagerly anticipating facing the reigning Grand Slam champions for the first time in three years after declaring himself fit for Saturday’s “huge” showdown.

The fly-half has undergone a head injury assessment (HIA) and overcome a dead leg suffered in the round-one win over Wales.

“It feels like a huge game. There’s no point in saying anything otherwise,” said Sexton.

“You can’t just come in here and say ‘it’s just another game’ because it’s not, it’s one we’ve waited a long time for and I’ve read that they want this test – to come to the Aviva and try and overturn us. It’s a huge game.”

Ireland had to settle for the consolation of a Triple Crown last year following a 30-24 Stade de France defeat, which Sexton watched from the stands due to a hamstring problem.

While Ireland, who top the world rankings, cantered to victory in Cardiff on matchday one, France were less convincing in a stuttering success over the Italians which stretched their impressive winning streak to 14 games.

Sexton shrugged off Ntamack’s claim, however, adding: “I don’t really mind, the favourites tag is not something we mention internally.

“Being number one in the world, the public or the press will do it or the opposition will, but it comes down to the performance on the day.

“If we’re favourites, we’re favourites. It doesn’t really bother me if that’s what he says.”

ireland vs france preview and suggested bets 11/02/2023 novibet(1)
Ireland celebrate scoring their third try last year.

France head coach Fabien Galthie has named an unchanged starting XV for the game.

His only changes come on the bench where Toulouse back-rower Francois Cros and Lyon scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud replace La Rochelle lock Thomas Lavault and Racing 92 number nine Nolann Le Garrec.

Captain Antoine Dupont will once again lead his country, continuing his half-back partnership with Toulouse team-mate Romain Ntamack.

Les Bleus are bidding for a 15th successive victory to put themselves in pole position to retain the Six Nations title.

Galthie’s men have won all three previous meetings with Farrell’s Ireland and are the only visiting team to triumph in Dublin since the 2019 World Cup – a 15-13 success in 2021.

But the hosts should be too strong this weekend, securing a dominant win, and Leinster’s Caelan Doris could hog the headlines with a man-of-the-match display.

Round one results

  • Wales 10 Ireland 34
  • Italy 24 France 29

Suggested bets

*Prices subject to fluctuation.

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