Six Nations Rugby: Ireland vs France, all latest info
Six Nations Rugby: Ireland vs France (Sunday 7th Feb)
The Six Nations tournaments history goes back to 1883 as the "Home Nations" tournament, but expanded to "The Five Nations" in 1910 with the addition of France and then in 2000 Italy joined too making it "The Six Nations" which we have today. On 7 December 2018, Guinness was announced as the Championship's new title sponsor, with the competition to be named the Guinness Six Nations from 2019 to 2024.
The "Shamrocks" (Ireland) face "Le XV de France" in what will be the second game of this years tournament. The opening weekend saw a routine win for France against a poor Italian side but Ireland suffered a shock defeat to Wales after losing a player to a Red card early on. Fortunately for both of them England suffered an even greater shock losing to 10/1 outsiders Scotland which has left the race for the title wide open.
In the UK it kicks off at 15:00 GMT in Dublin Aviva Stadium but unfortunately due to Covid restrictions it will be in front of a crowd much reduced from its 51,000 capacity. For everyone watching along at home live coverage is available on ITV from 14:15 on the day, with highlights available from multiple sources as soon as the final whistle blows.
But what about the game itself? Who are the players to look out for? Who is going to win? What are the value bets?
Which players should we look out for?
The Irish Rugby Football Union have released their squad for the game and here is some highlights from what they said, we have highlighted players to watch out for:
“Ulster’s Iain Henderson will captain Ireland for the first time, becoming the 108th player to lead Ireland. He will be partnered in the second row by Tadhg Beirne. The front row that started against Wales of Cian Healy, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter is retained. Healy will win his 106th cap taking him ahead of John Hayes (105) as Ireland’s most capped prop. In the back row Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander are joined by Rhys Ruddock who slots in on the blindside flank. Conor Murray picked up a hamstring strain in training this week and has been ruled out of this game. Jamison Gibson Park comes in to start at 9 and will partner Billy Burns. Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose line out in the centre and the back three is unchanged with Hugo Keenan at fullback flanked by Keith Earls and James Lowe.”
As far as the French team go they were favourites before the tournament, and the hammering they gave to Italy has nothing to dampen that. Of the undefeated sides, France's form is better than Wales', while Scotland have to go to Paristo get a result. With defending champions England below par and already with a loss, France are the team to beat. There are media reports that they are optimistic this year can be their year, "[Captain] Charles Ollivon was saying we want silverware, we want to win the Grand Slam."
Who is going to win? What are the value bets?
France are the bookies favourites, despite Ireland having the home advantage and a point to prove after last weekends results. Ireland are priced at just under 2/1, the French around 3/5 on, and for the very optimistic a draw is around 25/1. You can see the current odds at time of writing below:
We would be going for the Irish here, there is no value backing France and the bad Irish loss to Wales was almost exclusively down to the Red card, which was a one off event not likely to be repeated..
Other options for those who can not see a clear winner is to bet on is to score a try at anytime. In a rich vein of form is a Frenchman with an Irishman's name, Teddy Thomas. He scored last week against the Italians adding to his International tally, and he can be backed to repeat the feat this weekend at around 2/1.
If you did fancy France to win but just do not see any value in the odds available a better option may be to look at the outright tournament winner market. They are over Evens with most bookmakers and if they win tomorrow, that is a bet which is almost 50% of the way there already, with a serious blow having been dealt to arguably their main thread.
Whatever bets you place, we hope that you enjoy watching the game. Please always gamble responsibly.