Thursday, May 30, 2024

Rugby Tips: Your best bets for Friday’s France v Ireland Six Nations clash

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Ireland +4
Each Team to Score 2 or more Tries & Ireland to Win

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Friday 8pm: France v Ireland
Six Nations match at Stade Velodrome, Marseille
TV: ITV1 and Virgin Media One

Well here we are, three months on from the World Cup, it’s back to the meat and drink of international rugby, the Six Nations. We begin in Marseille, in the Stadium Velodrome for the opening clash of Ireland and France, with this game potentially deciding who will take this year’s honours.

There are many changes to both Irish and French sides from those who fell narrowly in their respective World Cup quarterfinal defeats to southern hemisphere opposition. We’ve got a couple of the best bets ahead of Friday night’s monstrous clash.

Ireland +4

As one era comes to an end, another begins. It wasn’t the curtain closer Johnny Sexton was looking for in France in October, it was more a case of exit stage left. As it always is in professional sport, it’s next man up and that man is Munster’s Jack Crowley.

The West Cork man will be tasked with guiding his side into the biggest battle of them all on Friday night but he has the character for the challenge. This will be Crowley’s first start at 10 in the Six Nations but he has the benefit of being surrounded by some top-class, experienced talent in all corners of the pitch.

With the majority of the starting fifteen and bench being made up of Leinster and Munster players, there will be no shortage of continuity and familiarity amongst the Irish players. This will be to their advantage heading into Friday night’s clash. Amazingly, this will be France’s first time playing someone other than the Italians in round one in four years. Having this advantage has meant the French have been able to cleanse the pallet before sampling the main course.

However, the starter hasn’t always been pleasant. Just looking back at last year in Rome, the French left it very late to get over the line against the Italians, with a late Matthieu Jalibert score proving the difference, 29-24. This time they won’t have that luxury start as the reigning grand slam champions come to town.

Now don’t get me wrong, this French team is made up of numerous star-quality players but it naturally should take time for them to gel having a team being made up from all corners of the Top 14. Add in the fact they won’t have ‘Ministre de l’Intérieur’ or the ‘interior minister’, Antoine Dupont, for support on Friday night then this becomes far less than a foregone conclusion of a French victory.

Ireland will be underdogs and they know that, so with that tag will come less pressure, less expectation, and the ability to play freely. The key to the game will be the start. Ideally, if Crowley can get a very kickable three-point shot early on to ease him into the game, that will greatly help their chances.

They need to silence that French crowd before they get a head of steam and if they can do that, I’d give them every chance. This game will be close and could go either way so with that in mind, I’ll take the points and the Irish handicap of +4.

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