Ireland vs. France Betting Tips: Favourites to defeat the French
In what could be the deciding game of the 2023 Six Nations, despite this being just the second set of fixtures, favourites Ireland host second-favourite France in an enormous clash at the Aviva Stadium. Both sides kicked off their campaigns with expected victories, although it was the Irish who impressed more neutrals with a swashbuckling win over Wales. France were more workmanlike in getting past a spirited Italy side and both will know the potential repercussions of a loss here. Billy Grimshaw landed a winner (Scotland +10) and an each-way return (van der Merwe first try-scorer) in his first preview of the Championship in the Calcutta Cup last week and is back looking for more value in this weekend's big clash...
Ireland vs. France Odds
Ireland vs. France Tips
Before a ball was kicked in the Six Nations, this game was circled by all fans as a Championship, and maybe even Grand Slam, decider. Ireland and France are two of the best sides in world rugby with fantastic recent records, elite coaching teams and squads stacked with talent.
The evidence where it mattered though, on the pitch, showed a gulf in class between the two and for our first bet I am fairly strong on backing Ireland to win the game by 6 or more points. Their extremely impressive showing in the opener in Cardiff, albeit against an injury hit Wales, showed Andy Farrell's men were ready to fly out of the blocks and in the end by picking up a bonus point win Wales' heaviest home defeat since 2001. The Welsh simply had no answer for the speed and strength of the Irish and if they get off to a fast start again against France, this game could be over by half time.
The French will certainly improve from last week's stumbling success over Italy, a game in which they were pushed all the way before eventually securing a bonus point win in the dying stages. They have won the last three games between these sides, but that run, as well as their fourteen-in-a-row winning streak, is in danger of ending decisively. Play anything like that again and they will be humiliated in Dublin so expect a reaction, but to my eye it won't be enough to stop the rampaging Irish marching to Six Nations glory. Something which could seriously sway this game is discipline.
Notorious hot heads, France conceded a whopping 18 penalties in Italy last weekend and a repeat of that would mean they face and impossible task to defeat their hosts. If they do not clean up their act as well as improve both offensively and defensively this will be one-way traffic. Even if they do I feel they simply are no match for the Irish side of 2023 and will be with the hosts to clear this handicap line. I am also going to be backing Ireland on bigger handicaps but will leave the tips to just this -5 selection at best price of evens with bet365.
For the second tip and a bit more of a longshot, I can't resist a punt on Mack Hansen to be the first try-scorer and will be taking advantage of the each-way places on offer with both Paddy Power and Betfair. The Irish were clearly looking for him at every opportunity in the first-half blitz of Wales and with his heavy involvement and the mantra of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', expect a similar pattern to develop in this game.
Hansen is a strong ball carrier and a clever player who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time while never giving up on causes that look lost. With France's shocking discipline last week it would be no surprise to see Ireland kick themselves into the lead early doors, but if they can steamroll the midfield as they are famous for gaps could appear out wide and Ireland have the skills to exploit them.
Hansen can be one of the main beneficiaries of this potential scenario and with my fancy being Ireland will come out on top with something to spare and they will be quickest out of the traps, his price of 12/1 appeals with the insurance that if he is the second or third player to score a try we will make a small profit as well.
The French defence is not as sturdy as coach Shaun Edwards would like it to be and last week's flimsiness against Italy will not be tolerated again. However, if the French players and coaches could've chosen a game to put things right in before building into the Championship it certainly would not have been Ireland away and Hansen, along with the other threats for Ireland, can take advantage of any defensive slips or confusion.