Kick-off: 1415, 11/02/2023
Stadium: Aviva Stadium
Ireland and France are expected to dominate this year’s Six Nations and Saturday’s clash in Dublin already feels like a title decider.
Andy Farrell’s side were far more impressive in the opening round of fixtures and home advantage only adds to their appeal.
Les Bleus will always fight hard, though, so 6/5 for the hosts to prevail by 1-12 points is our first Ireland vs France prediction.
Ireland, our pre-tournament tip to top the table, finished last year as world number one and picked up where they left off with a 34-10 thumping of Wales in Cardiff.
A 27-3 interval lead came after a near-faultless 40 minutes in which they physically dominated Warren Gatland’s ill-disciplined side.
After losing their way during a laboured second-half display, Ireland finished strongly, with Josh van der Flier grabbing the bonus point.
Full-back Hugo Keenan said: “We’re delighted to get the win and the four tries and the bonus point, we came over here for that one reason and we got it.
“We talked about not being afraid. Everybody bought into that, so I think the whole team performance in that first half was brilliant and the forwards were immense.”
Farrell’s men ultimately had to settle for second spot in the 2022 championship as a round-two defeat by the all-conquering French in Paris proved pivotal.
The Irish were on the receiving end of a blistering start to that contest, as Antoine Dupont crossed inside two minutes.
“They just caught us on the hop,” recalled centre Garry Ringrose. “They broke us on the counter-attack.
“The start for us would be massive to hold them out with the threat they pose, pretty much from anywhere, broken play or set-piece that they have up front with their forwards.
“We will have to be really dialled on to not let them through us with their power game, as well as being able to defend the serious try scorers that they have on the edge out wide.”
Both teams are expected to keep things tight and focus on defence early on, so Ireland vs France odds.
France are the only major nation yet to suffer defeat against Ireland during the Farrell era.
Les Bleus have twice beaten the Irish at Stade de France in that time – 35-27 in 2020 and 30-24 last year – and enjoyed a 15-13 success at Aviva Stadium in 2021.
The reigning grand slam champions kicked off this year with a patchy performance, though, being given an almighty scare by Italy in Rome.
Having been 19-6 up midway through the first half, France then found themselves behind in the second period before Matthieu Jalibert’s try saw them claim a 29-24 win.
Head coach Fabien Galthie commented: “We are satisfied to have won it, to have taken the offensive bonus – two of the objectives we had set ourselves – but we must admit that it was hard.
“The performance is mixed to say the least, it leaves us with a bitter taste. We didn’t achieve all our goals in this game, that’s clear.
“We must say that winning an international match in this tournament away is already important. Now we are aware that we must do much better.”
France are one of the few sides to possess the physical power to match Ireland’s current line-up, but the visitors are more prone to unforced handling errors.
Discipline will be another key factor in front of a fired-up Dublin crowd and we just feel there will be too many obstacles for Les Bleus to overcome on this occasion.
For those wanting a bit more value, 4/1 for a home win by 6-10 points is added to our Ireland vs France betting tips.
Wales 10-34 IRELAND
Italy 24-29 FRANCE
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