The opening round of the 2022 Six Nations lived up to expectations, Ireland picking up where they left off last November with a dominant win over Wales in Dublin.
All eyes are now on Paris. It would be premature to call Saturday’s clash between Andy Farrell’s side and France a title decider, but it will go a long way towards deciding who are crowned champions in March.
Ireland and Les Bleus are arguably the two form sides in world rugby. Both beat the All Blacks last autumn and both began their tournament with a bonus point victory last weekend.
Fabien Galthié’s side took a while to find their groove against Italy, shaking off the rust before gliding through the gears in the second-half to win 37-10 against a resilient Azzurri.
As for Ireland, they flew out of the blocks against a weakened and disjointed Wales but left plenty of scores behind them as they ran out comfortable 29-7 winners.
You would expect both teams to improve for their opening round exertions - Saturday evening’s game at the Stade de France could be the game of the tournament.
Elsewhere Scotland are looking to emphasise their title credentials by following up their win over England at Murrayfield with more of the same in Cardiff.
As for the English, Eddie Jones’s side will be hoping for a morale-boosting win over an Italian side who look much improved in the early stages of Kieran Crowley’s tenure.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the second round of fixtures.
What is it?
Round two of the 2022 Six Nations, including Ireland's trip to play France in Paris.
When is it?
Wales play Scotland and Ireland play France on Saturday February 12th, before England play Italy a day later.
How can I watch it?
All of the Six Nations games are broadcast on terrestrial television, with Virgin Media One having the rights for the Ireland match on Saturday, which kicks off at 4.45pm. ITV will be showing it in the UK.
You can also follow all of the action via our liveblog, which will be up and running from around 4pm.
Saturday February 5th, Ireland 29 Wales 7, Aviva Stadium (2.15pm, RTÉ)
Saturday February 5th, Scotland 20 England 17, Murrayfield (4.45pm, Virgin Media One)
Sunday February 6th, France 37 Italy 10, Stade de France (3pm, RTÉ)
Saturday February 12th, Wales v Scotland, Millennium Stadium (2.15pm, RTÉ)
Saturday February 12th, France v Ireland, Stade de France (4.45pm, Virgin Media One)
Sunday February 13th, Italy v England, Stadio Olimpico (3pm, Virgin Media One)
Saturday February 26th, Scotland v France, Murrayfield (2.15pm, Virgin Media One)
Saturday February 26th, England v Wales, Twickenham (4.45pm, RTÉ)
Sunday February 27th, Ireland v Italy, Aviva Stadium (3pm, Virgin Media One)
Friday March 11th, Wales v France, Millennium Stadium (8pm, RTÉ)
Saturday March 12th, Italy v Scotland, Stadio Olimpico (2.15pm, Virgin Media One)
Saturday March 12th, England v Ireland, Twickenham (4.45pm, RTÉ)
Saturday March 19th, Wales v Italy, Millennium Stadium (2.15pm, RTÉ)
Saturday March 19th, Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium (4.45pm, Virgin Media One)
Saturday March 19th, France v England, Stade de France (8pm, RTÉ)
What happened last weekend?
Ireland welcomed defending champions Wales to the Aviva Stadium in the tournament’s curtain-raising fixture and quickly asserted their dominance as Bundee Aki crossed to score in the second minute. From then on, it was rarely a contest. Andrew Conway’s brace and Garry Ringrose’s try secured the bonus point and it was only Irish profligacy in the Welsh 22 which kept the scoreboard to a semi-respectable 29-7.
Later on Saturday England dominated possession but met a Scotland side determined to keep them out in difficult conditions at Murrayfield. The Scots rarely had the ball in English territory but they won the game’s key moments - Darcy Graham’s score and a penalty try, following a yellow card shown to Luke Cowan-Dickie - proving key. Eddie Jones hooked try-scorer Marcus Smith with 20 minutes to go as a Finn Russell penalty saw Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 1983-84 with a 20-17 win.
On Sunday France made a slow start against a resilient Italy side at a sodden Stade de France, and found themselves trailing to debutant Tommaso Menoncello’s try - the 19-year-old becoming the youngest Championship try scorer since 1955. Les Bleus turned the screw in the second-half however, with Gabin Villière completing a thrilling hat-trick to pave the way for a bonus-point 37-10 win.
If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Ireland have a very settled starting XV heading to Paris, with Mack Hansen having slotted seamlessly into the side in an impressive international debut against Wales.
Having missed last weekend's win, both Robbie Henshaw and Iain Henderson make the replacements bench after returning to fitness.
However it's not all good news, as Irish captain Johnny Sexton has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury sustained in training on Wednesday. Joey Carbery fills in at outhalf with Jack Carty on the bench.
Fabien Galthié has made two changes to the French starting XV. Bordeaux centre Yoram Moefana replaces the injured Jonathan Danty while Francois Cros relegates Dylan Cretin to the bench.
Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Mack Hansen; Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson Park; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan. Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Jack Carty, Robbie Henshaw.
France: Jaminet; Penaud, Fickou, Moefana, Villière; Ntamack, Dupont (captain); Baille, Marchand, Atonio; Woki, Willemse; Cros, Jelonch, Alldritt. Replacements: Mauvaka, Gros, Bamba, Taofifuena, Flament, Cretin, Lucu, Ramos.
Paris has traditionally been a graveyard for Irish rugby ambition, with only the Brian O’Driscoll inspired 27-25 win in 2000 breaking up 42 years of French dominance.
However recent history has been more kind to Ireland - they secured the Championship on French soil in 2014, with Johnny Sexton’s last-minute drop goal paving the way for 2018’s Grand Slam.
Overall the two sides have met 100 times - France winning 58, Ireland 35 and with seven draws.
What are the bookies saying?
No Grand Slam 8-13
Wales 5-4 Scotland 4-6 Draw 20-1 (Scotland -2 10-11)
France 8-13 Ireland 11-8 Draw 20-1 (France -3 10-11)
Italy 10-1 England 1-50 Draw 50-1 (England -23 10-11)
Who’s on the whistle?
Wales v Scotland - Nic Berry (Australia)
France v Ireland - Angus Gardner (Australia)
Italy v England - Damon Murphy (Australia)
Can I go?
Unsurprisingly, the Stade de France is full for the visit of Ireland. Best stick to the pub.
How’s the weather looking?
Early forecasts suggests things will be a lot more pleasant this weekend - it should be dry and cool on Saturday evening, perfect conditions for both sides to run the ball.