Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Guinness 6 Nations: Ireland v France Preview

Guinness 6 Nations: Ireland v France Preview



Ireland will be looking to get their Six Nations campaign back on track when they host a red-hot French side on Sunday, 14 February. 

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

There will be no love lost this Valentine's Day as Ireland and France will go head-to-head in what will be a bruising 6 Nations affair. 

This is a crucial game for both sides as a win for the French would likely leave them top of the 6 Nations pops with home games against Wales and Scotland to come, while Ireland desperately need the win here to salvage any hopes of winning the 6 Nations title after suffering an opening round defeat to Wales. 

Ireland v France
Sunday 14 February
Aviva Stadium
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Ireland 14/10
Draw 20/1
France 6/10

Handicap
Ireland 9/10 (+3.5)
France 9/10 (-3.5)

Ireland

Last week's uncharacteristic moment of madness from veteran flanker Peter O'Mahony has thrown a massive spanner in the works for Ireland coach Andy Farell. That wreckless leading elbow into a ruck will be haunting O'Mahony for a long old time, but it may prove to be another nail in Farell's Irish coaching coffin as the Irish boss will only come under more pressure if his side fail to compete for the 6 Nations crown again this year. 

Simply put, Ireland have to get a win over France this weekend. A loss would all but end their hopes of claiming the 6 Nations title, despite the men from the Emerald Aisle still having three games to play. Getting a win over the French is no easy prospect nowadays, as this Le Bleu team have shown real maturity over the past year and a bit. 

Ireland may also have to do without the services of veteran pivot Johnny Sexto, who took a knock against Wales last week. This may not be the worst thing, however, as while he has been a fantastic player for his country over the years, he has become something of a one-trick pony who lacks attacking flair and almost always opts for the conservative option. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

France
Le Bleu enjoyed a marvellous start to the 6 Nations and not just because they managed to register a 10-40 bonus-point victory over Italy. Result really fell in favour of the French last week with England and Ireland's defeats seeing the French elevated to 6 Nations favourites by the bookmakers. 

While the old adage of French rugby teams blowing hot and extremely cold still leaves one to pause for thought when backing them to claim away wins, I think they will well and truly have Ireland's number this weekend. While weather conditions are set to be rather poor - there's a lot of rain being forecast to fall on Saturday and Sunday - the French have the forward pack to compete with an Irish pack that wasn't all too impressive at scrum time last weekend. 

The French will need their half-backs to adapt this weekend with Antoine Dupont needing to be more reliant on his box kicking then his sneaky snipes and interim fly-half Mattheui Jalibert needing to impress with the boot rather than taking on the opposition line. Both players are able to adapt their games, however, and France also have an ace up their sleeve in fullback Brice Dulin who is a fantastic kicker out of hand. 

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Verdict: France
While Italy are hardly the stiffest opposition in the world, I was still thoroughly impressed by the French in the opener. I reckon they'll impress this weekend again and make it two wins from two starts. With rain floating around Ireland this weekend, this should be a rather low scoring affair so a live in-play strike on the under markets could also be a very shrewd.  


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