2018 Six Nations: France v Ireland Preview

Players attempt to score a try

Ireland will be looking to kick their 2018 Six Nations campaign off with an emphatic win over France when the two sides lock horns on Saturday the 3rd of February. 

The weekend’s headliner takes place in Paris on Saturday as Les Bleus and the Irish go toe-to-toe at the Stade de France. The hosts, coming off the back of another very disappointing year and buoyed by the arrival of new coach Jacques Brunel, will want to remind their faithful fans that all is certainly not lost. Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt’s wily Irish will want to hit the ground running as they go in search of another championship-winning campaign.

France v Ireland | Saturday 3 February | Stade de France | 18:45

To Win (80 Mins)
France 7/4 | Draw 20/1 | Ireland 9/20

France owe it to themselves and to their supporters to turn things around in 2018. Once again, they won’t be considered Six Nations title-contenders, but all the rugby world wants to see is a French side that can dominate the global game again... and we’re growing impatient. Any sort of progress will do this year – hell, if France lose all their matches but start forming a structure and charisma to their play then even that’s a start.

The anticipation surrounding Brunel’s first match in charge has been palpable, but expectations should be kept in check this campaign. The Irish are a tough proposition first up but, despite his limited preparation time, Brunel will be expected to put in a competitive showing at home. The pressure will be rife.

All French, and indeed rugby supporters, in general, want to see is some sort of direction from the men in blue. Let’s hope they manage to get off to a solid enough start this weekend.

It is the Emerald Isle that are expected to drive England closest this season, hence a mountain of pressure rests on Schmidt and his troops. The quality in the squad is immense, and indeed they are set to stage a real assault on the World Cup in a year-and-a-bit’s time. Considering the pool of youngsters coming through Ireland, and particularly Leinster rugby at the moment, the future is looking an increasingly bright prospect for the men in green.

France shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to Ireland’s supremacy, and coming away from Paris without a win will be nothing short of a hammer blow to their tournament chances. It’s hard to know what to expect from the French at the best of times, let alone now, but Ireland will doubtless rely on the experience of Connor Murray and Johnny Sexton to dictate play and see them home. Rory Best’s forward pack will have their hands full in dealing with the hosts’ heavy men but dominating the collisions will directly translate to ascendancy on the scoreboard.

Weather conditions may dictate this encounter is more a battle of attrition than anything else. If this does prove to be the case, it is Ireland who will come out on top.

Verdict: Ireland 9/20
Easy money here. Ireland are far too good to fall to a France side that is yet to adjust to its new gaffer. Personally, I’m just hoping that the French show some signs of a revival.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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