Rugby World Cup Pool D: Table-toppers Ireland and France clash


While both teams have qualified, this is still not a nothing game, with the losers facing the unfancied task of taking on New Zealand in the quarter-finals.

Ireland are odds-on 8/11 favourites with Coral to beat Les Bleus and both sides are tied on 14 points at the top of Group D, though Ireland command the superior points difference. However, it is bad news for Ireland, with Jared Payne missing the rest of the tournament with a broken foot.

France though, despite having an efficient tournament so far, have never beaten Ireland under coach Phillipe Saint-Andre, while his opposite number Joe Schmidt will be hoping for a much more convincing performance than last time out, when recording a narrow 16-9 win over Italy.

Keith Earls scored the only try in the match and is 10/3 to do so again anytime, while Jonny Sexton kicked three penalties and a conversion.

The fly-half though is hoping for a better collective performance against France next time out: “We know we are a pretty good team on our day when we play well,” Sexton said after their previous match. “Italy caught us a little bit by surprise and they tested us in ways we hadn’t seen previously.

“They have many similarities to the French team in how strong they are up front, in the scrum and maul. We are going to have to deal with France a lot better than we did against Italy, Sexton continued.

“We are always very hard on ourselves and with each other. Honesty is probably the key word. It’s all down to this weekend and that’s where we wanted to be at the start of the tournament.”

Although Ireland have won 11 of their last 15 matches against Six Nations opponents, they have never beaten France at a World Cup.

France will be even more secure in defence with South African-born Scott Spedding (5/1 anytime scorer) set to be handed a start against Ireland with Brice Dulin (12/1 first scorer) moving to the wing.

“Playing with two full backs can bring more confidence to the team and relieve the forwards, especially as one of Brice’s strongest points also lies in his ability under the high ball,” Spedding said ahead of the Ireland match.

“I need my wingers to talk to me a lot. We speak in French, it is easier for everyone. That’s the way we play in our clubs and also, then the opposition don’t understand us.”

Coral’s top tip: Earls is a tasty 10/3 to get over the try-line anytime.

Latest Articles