29th November 2020

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And to the finale. A tournament that started back on February 1 will reach its climax almost nine months later as Ireland chase the Six Nations title against France.

It promises to be an absorbing denouement just outside Paris. Ireland will land a fourth Championship since 2014 with a bonus-point victory. Of course, that is far easier said than done.

In fact, Ireland have never won across The Channel and scored four tries in the process. In 2000, when Brian O’Driscoll plundered a hat-trick, those were the only three five-pointers his side managed.

Six years later, Ireland did score four tries but lost 43-31. It is hard to imagine a squad coached by Shaun Edwards, who has certainly added a steel to France this year upon his arrival from Wales, being so flaky.

Then again, Les Bleus can win the competition with a heavy triumph that overhauls England on points difference. They need a 32-point victory… so it could well open up. Here are the teams.

France

15. Anthony Bouthier, 14. Gael Fickou, 13. Virimi Vakatawa, 12. Arthur Vincent, 11. Vincent Ratez, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont; 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Julien Marchand, 3.Mohamed Haouas, 4. Bernard le Roux, 5.Paul Willemse, 6. Francois Cros, 7. Charles Ollivon (captain), 8. Gregory Alldritt
Replacements: 16. Camille Chat, 17. Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18. Demba Bamba, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Dylan Cretin, 21. Baptiste Serin, 22. Arthur Retiere, 23. Thomas Ramos

Ireland

15. Jacob Stockdale, 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Robbie Henshaw, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Hugo Keenan, 10. Johnny Sexton (captain) 9. Conor Murray; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rob Herring, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Will Connors, 8. CJ Stander
Replacements: 16. Dave Heffernan, 17. Ed Byrne 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Ultan Dillane, 20. Peter O’Mahony, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Chris Farrell




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