IRELAND v FRANCE BETTING PREVIEWIreland opened their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 27-22 slip-up against Scotland but were soon back to their winning ways by hammering 63-10 Italy in their next match in Rome, becoming the first team to earn a four try bonus point in the tournament. As a result, they come into this game in second place on the log with six points, two shy of England whom they will host in Round 5.
Ireland expect Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney and Conor Murray all recover for Saturday's clash. Josh van der Flier could miss the rest of the Six Nations after suffering a shoulder injury, though the Leinster flanker's absence should be offset by Munster back-rower Peter O'Mahony's return to fitness. Jack McGrath slots back in to start at prop with Cian Healy dropping back to the bench, with captain Rory Best also back in the front row after missing the Italy win through a stomach bug.
France have made great strides under the guidance of former Toulouse head coach Guy Noves. They very unlucky to lose their tournament opener to England (19-16) at Twickenham where a try inside the last ten minutes saw Les Bleus leave with only a losing bonus point. They continued to impress in their next match and bounced back with a 22-16 success over Scotland in Paris. Only one of the last ten meetings between these rivals has been separated by a double-digit winning margin. Les Blues' 10-9 triumph over Ireland in last season’s Six Nations ended a five-match winless run against the Boys in Green.
France have made three changes to their starting line-up. Prop Rabah Slimani, flanker Bernard Le Roux and wing Yoann Huget come in for Uini Atonio, Loann Goujon and Virimi Vakatawa respectively. Forwards Camille Chat, Eddy Ben Arous and Paul Jedrasiak have been recalled to the squad but Loann Goujon has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament following a clash of heads last time out. Mathieu Bastareaud misses out after suffering a concussion.
IRELAND v FRANCE PREVIOUS RESULTS
- 2016: France won 10-9 in Paris
2015: Ireland won 24-9 in Cardiff (RWC)
2015: Ireland won 18-11 in Dublin
2014: Ireland won 22-20 in Paris
2013: They drew 13-13 in Dublin
IRELAND v FRANCE STARTING XVsIreland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Cian Healy, 18 John Ryan, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Andrew Trimble
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France: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kévin Gourdon, 6 Bernard le Roux, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Eddy Ben Arous, 19 Julian Le Devedec, 20 Charles Ollivon, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Henry Chavancy, 23 Djibril Camara
IRELAND v FRANCE BEST ODDS
|IRELAND|| 7.00 with||Bet £10, win £70.00|
|THE DRAW||29.00 with||Bet £10, win £290.00|
|FRANCE||4.33 with||Bet £10, win £43.30|
IRELAND v FRANCE PREDICTIONS
|OUR PICKS||BEST ODDS||BOOKMAKER|
|Ireland to win||1.83|
|Both teams to score a try||1.40|
|Ireland to win by 6-10 points||5.50|
|Ireland to score first||1.75|
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