By the time these teams run out at the Stade de France both will know what they need to do to claim the Six Nations title. Assuming England claim a bonus-point win in Italy, France must bank five points too and beat Ireland by three points more than England’s winning margin in Rome. It looks like a big ask.
A bonus-point win would be enough for Ireland, and even if they miss out on that target and finish level on 18 points with England, they have a chance to take it on points difference. But first of all they have to win.
History says Ireland can beat France. They have lost just one of the last nine meetings and looked in decent form on their return against Italy last week. However, they have only once landed a try bonus point against Les Bleus - that was in last year’s meeting in Dublin - and these clashes have a reputation for being tight and low-scoring.
And just as crucially, they are up against a rejuvenated French team who have shown that consistency of selection can bring consistency of performance and they were outstanding, especially in defence, in their win over Wales last week.
France vs Ireland Betting Odds
France are 4/5 favourites giving up a handicap of five points and bookmakers appear to be right in expecting a close contest. Of the last 12 meetings in all competitions, nine have been decided by a margin of 12 points or fewer.
There have been two draws and one win by 15 points, when Ireland triumphed 24-9 in a 2015 World Cup pool match in Cardiff.
In Paris, it’s been even tighter. On the last four occasions the teams have faced each other at the Stade de France, Ireland have won twice by two points, France once by one point, while the 2012 meeting finished level at 17-17.
France vs Ireland Team News
After impressive wins last week for both teams it’s no surprise to see minimal changes on both sides and all injury-enforced.
For France, Gael Fickou replaces Teddy Thomas on the wing while Robbie Henshaw starts at centre for Ireland in place of Gary Ringrose.
France vs Ireland Prediction
This game will probably have to break the mould of previous encounters if either team is to land the title but France have looked so solid that it is hard to see a free-running game.
Coach Fabien Gaulthie is reaping the benefit of sticking with a half-back combination of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, where so many of his predecessors chopped and changed, and they can lead Les Bleus to another narrow win, although yet again it looks sure to be close.
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Six Nations: France vs Ireland Frequently Asked Questions
What are the odds on France winning?
What are the odds on Ireland winning?
Where can I watch France vs Ireland on TV or live stream?
The game is being shown on BBC 2.A
What time is the France vs Ireland game?
20:05 on Saturday, October 31.A