Saturday, February 13, 2010

6 NATIONS RUGBY: Ireland v France

13.02.2010
Ireland v France in Paris (6 Nations)

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Venue: Stade de France, St. Denis, Paris

Preview
This is one of the BIG games of this competition, if not THE BIG game. Ireland are the reigning champions of this competition whilst France are always up their either as the leading side or battling the leaders. The winner could well battle it out with England for the title.

Ireland began their quest for a second Grand Slam with an unconvincing win against Italy last weekend. The return of Ferris will give the Irish an opportunity to dominate in the loose. Whether the Irish can counter this monster of a French pack will be another thing.

The French are simply itching for this match. I'd expect them to lift their game a notch compared to the limited attacking performance displayed against Scotland. The French have the knack of playing up a level when required. They will need to do that to hold this Irish side within a sniff of another fantastic year of rugby within their grasp.

Last Five Encounters
07.02.2009 Ireland 30-21 in Dublin (6 Nations)
09.02.2008 France 26-21 in Paris ( 6 Nations)
21.09.2007 France 25-3 in Paris (World Cup, Pool D)
11.02.2007 France 20-17 in Dublin (6 Nations)
11.02.2006 France 43-31 in Paris (6 Nations)

Ireland last defeated France in Paris in 2000, winning 27-25.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 2nd, Ireland 3rd
Europe Table-Ireland 1st, France 3rd

Prediction: France by 3 points. And oh what a game! or it could be 3 points to France-either way!

5[1]

Teams

France
15 Clement Poitrenaud
14 Vincent Clerc
13 Mathieu Bastareaud
12 Yannick Jauzion
11 Alexis Palisson
10 Fran├žois Trinh-Duc
9 Morgan Parra
8 Imanol Harinordoquy
7 Fulgence Ouedraogo
6 Thierry Dusautoir, Capt.
5 Pascal Pape
4 Lionel Nallet
3 Nicolas Mas
2 William Servat
1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements
16 Dimitri Szarzewski
17 Sylvain Marconnet
18 Julien Pierre
19 Julien Bonnaire
20 Frederic Michalak
21 David Marty
22 Julien Malzieu
Head Coach: Marc Lievremont

Milestones
When Julien Pierre took the field off the bench last week he had last appeared for France, against New Zealand, in June 2007.
Bastareaud, back after a 3 month ban by the French Rugby Federation, scored his first try for France early in the first half, and then another later in the first half.

1[1]

Ireland
15 Robert Kearney
14 Tommy Bowe
13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt.
12 Gordon D'Arcy
11 Keith Earls
10 Ronan O'Gara
9 Tomas O'Leary
8 James Heaslip
7 David Wallace
6 Stephen Ferris
5 Paul O'Connell
4 Leo Cullen
3 John Hayes
2 Jeremy Flannery
1 Cian Healy
Replacements
16 Rory Best
17 Thomas Court
18 Donnacha Ryan
19 Sean O'Brien
20 Eoin Reddan
21 Jonathan Sexton
22 Paddy Wallace
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

Milestones
John Hayes will be playing his 99th test match for Ireland.
O'Learys' try last week was his first test try for Ireland.
Ireland achieved its 12th straight match without loss last week with the win against Italy. This is the record for matches without a loss. Its record of straight wins goes to the teams of 2002-03 who recorded 10 straight wins from 07.09.2003 v Romania to 22.03.2003 v Wales. Irelands' 20-20 draw with Australia last November spoilt a run of, up to that game, 8 consecutive wins.

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