For the second consecutive year, the two favourites for the Six Nations title meet in round two. Last year in Paris, France came out on top and went on to secure a Grand Slam while Ireland had to settle for second place and a Triple Crown. This time around in Dublin, the result could once again decide the destination of the Six Nations crown.
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Where and when?
Saturday, February 11th. Kick-off is at 2.15pm at the Aviva Stadium.
Can I watch?
You can, the game is being shown live on RTÉ 2. Coverage starts at 1.15pm. The Irish Times will also have a liveblog which will get underway an hour before kick-off.
Are there tickets?
Sadly not. Unsurprisingly, this one is a sell-out.
[ Gerry Thornley: Paying Ireland fans deserve more than current offering at the Aviva stadium ]
Both sides won on the road in round one, albeit in different circumstances. A sluggish middle period aside, Ireland overpowered Wales, scoring 21 points in the opening quarter on their way to a bonus point win. Ireland had not won in Cardiff since 2013, and the 24 points they scored in the first half were the most they have ever put on in that period in a Six Nations game at the venue.
[ Five things we learned from the opening Six Nations weekend ]
France’s 29-24 victory over Italy in Rome was somewhat less convincing. In many ways, Italy’s inability to get out of their own half gifted France early points, leading one to wonder what could have been if the hosts simply had a touch more discipline.
The French struggled with discipline in giving away 18 penalties, while their usual power at the maul was not on display. However, when it came down to it in the end game their superior power and handling skills saw them over the line.
In many ways, such a display was the worst case scenario for Ireland. France won with a bonus point to sit level with them on points in the table, while they have had their dud performance to start the championship, meaning improvement will surely be seen this week in Dublin.
[ Six Nations 2023: Five things Ireland need to do to beat France ]
Ireland came out early this week and said Tadhg Furlong, Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy will all miss out having fallen foul to injury before the Wales game. On Thursday it was confirmed that San Sheehan too would miss out. Rob Herring comes in for him. Otherwise, it is the same starting side that defeated Wales.
IRELAND (v France): Hugo Keenan (Leinster; Mack Hansen (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), James Lowe (Leinster); Johnny Sexton (Leinster, capt), Conor Murray (Munster); Andrew Porter (Leinster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht); Tadhg Beirne (Munster), James Ryan (Leinster); Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster).
Replacements: Rónan Kelleher (Leinster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Craig Casey (Munster), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Bundee Aki (Connacht).
[ Ireland vs France: Gibson-Park, Furlong and Healy out of consideration for crunch Six Nations match ]
France for their part have picked an unchanged side following their untidy win over Italy. Six players were called up to their wider training group this week: Alexandre Becognee, Clément Castets, François Cros, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Romain Buros and Matthis Lebel, with the Toulouse backrow Cros named in the 23.
FRANCE: Thomas Ramos; Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Yoram Moefana, Ethan Dumortier; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont (capt); Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio; Thibaud Flament, Paul Willemse; Anthony Jelonch, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt.
Replacements: Gaetan Barlot, Reda Wardi, Sipili Falatea, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Sekou Macalou, Baptiste Couilloud, Matthieu Jalibert.
Ireland are 4/5 with France currently at evens. There is a four-point spread.