The teams have been announced for “Le Crunch” as Ireland travel to Paris for the final round of the 2019 – 20 Six Nations.
They may be seven months behind schedule but the Six Nations has delivered another Super Saturday with three teams going into the final round with a chance of claiming the trophy.
Ireland are the only side with their fate in their own hands, a bonus point win against France will secure the title for Ireland. However, it’s a big ask, and the Green Machine will be stretched against Les Bleus.
England go into the final weekend as favourites, with the more likely scenario of clocking up a big scoring bonus point win against Italy and sitting back and watching France and Ireland battling out a tight, low scoring, game.
France can only, realistically, win the title should England struggle to enhance their points difference in their earlier match against Italy. However, the French would, probably, still be looking for a bonus point win against Ireland in the most likely scenarios.
Mind you, in an absolutely bat shit crazy year anything can happen. A decidedly undercooked England could struggle against an Italian side keen to leave some sort of impression on this seasons Six Nations. Ireland and France could each clock up bonus points before the break in their game, leaving it a winner takes all in the second half. Alternatively, a big win for England could see Ireland take advantage of a disinterested France! As they say in the elections there are a few paths to the Championship and Ireland probably have the most routes but England’s is the easiest.
In normal times, I feel that France are generally more focused on developing a team for World Cups whereas Ireland focus on the Six Nations. I had hoped that Andy Farrell would have brought in a few more outliers, irrespective of the perceived “importance” of this game, but that might have involved too much planning logistically at the moment. Hopefully we’ll have a clearer look at his intentions when things start to settle in the coming months.
As for this weekend, I think England will struggle to rack up the points against Italy leaving both teams with something to play for in the final game. That may be bad news for Ireland as a fully motivated France will be hard to beat!
The most interesting aspect of the game should be at half back as Ireland’s Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton come up against Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont for the second successive season. Do the “old dogs” have any new tricks?
France v Ireland Lineups
- Kick off: 20:05, Saturday 31st October 2020 Stade de France, Paris.
- Referee: Wayne Barnes.
- Live: BBC Sport
|Anthony Bouthier||15||Jacob Stockdale|
|Vincent Rattez||14||Andrew Conway|
|Virimi Vakatawa||13||Robbie Henshaw|
|Arthur Vincent||12||Bundee Aki|
|Gael Fickou||11||Hugo Keenan|
|Romain Ntamack||10||Jonathan Sexton (C)|
|Antoine Dupont||9||Conor Murray|
|Cyril Baille||1||Cian Healy|
|Julien Marchand||2||Rob Herring|
|Mohamed Haouas||3||Andrew Porter|
|Bernard Le Roux||4||Tadhg Beirne|
|Paul Willemse||5||James Ryan|
|Francois Cros||6||Caelan Doris|
|Charles Ollivon (C)||7||Will Connors|
|Gregory Alldritt||8||CJ Stander|
|Camille Chat||16||Dave Heffernan|
|Jean-Baptiste Gros||17||Ed Byrne|
|Demba Bamba||18||Finlay Bealham|
|Romain Taofifenua||19||Ultan Dillane|
|Dylan Cretin||20||Peter O’Mahony|
|Baptiste Serin||21||Jamison Gibson Park|
|Arthur Retiere||22||Ross Byrne|
|Thomas Ramos||23||Chris Farrell|