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Ireland v France: The History

Ireland v France: The History

Ireland will have the chance to win their opening four Championship matches for only the third time in Five/Six Nations history, when they meet 2004 champions France on Saturday.

Ireland will have the chance to win their opening four Championship matches for only the third time in Five/Six Nations history, when they meet 2004 champions France on Saturday.


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* Ireland have won their opening four Championship matches twice previously. In the Grand Slam-winning year of 1948, and two years ago in 2003 – when Scotland (36-6), Italy (37-13), France (15-12) and Wales (25-24) were defeated

* Ireland were victorious in the first six recorded matches between the two nations. 1909’s 19-8 win in Dublin saw winger Charles Thompson score two tries

* Ireland and France have lined out against each other 79 times. Les Bleus lead the way on 46 wins. The Irish boast 28 wins, and ended a seven-game winning streak for the French in Dublin, when triumphing in both 2001 and 2003

* Despite not winning a Championship in recent years, Ireland now boast the best Six Nations record since 2000. Eddie O’Sullivan’s current crop have helped the men in green to a tally of 21 wins and 7 losses, with both France and England on a 20-0-8 record

* Denis Hickie will earn his 50th Test cap at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. The 29-year-old speedster touched down in 1998’s agonising 18-16 loss to the French at Stade de France

* The chances of Brian O’Driscoll furthering his Ireland try-record of 26 are good. The 26-year-old has scored six tries in five outings since 2000 – they year of his famous Paris hat-trick

* Ronan O’Gara – fresh from his own 50th cap against England – could take over the mantle of record Irish points scorer from fly-half rival David Humphreys, against France. The Munster man currently sits on 505 points, with Humphreys heading him on 513

* Fabien Pelous – the towering Toulouse lock – will captain France for the 32nd time on Saturday, on the occasion of his 100th cap. Philippe Sella is les Bleus’ most-capped player with 111 Test appearances

* The highest score Ireland have notched against the French is 27-25 – a first success in Paris for 28 years – thanks to O’Driscoll’s interventions in 2000. Their best winning margin was 24-0 back in 1913

*1913’s fixture at Cork’s Mardyke also saw Joe Quinn net a hat-trick of tries – a feat only repeated against the French by O’Driscoll 87 years later

*Willie-John McBride and Fergus Slattery hold the record for most caps against France – 15. Sella lined out a record 13 times in opposition

* With England referee Tony Spreadbury in charge, the omens are good for Ireland. The last time an Englishman took charge of an Ireland v France Championship fixture, Mike Gibson and Anthony Ensor kicked two penalties for a 6-4 Lansdowne Road win back in 1973


Results: 04: Won 35-17 v Ireland, Won 25-0 v Italy, Won 29-22 v Wales, Won 31-0 v Scotland, Won 24-21 v England, Won 39-31 v USA, Won 47-13 v Canada, Won 27-14 v Australia, Lost 14-24 v Argentina, Lost 6-45 v New Zealand. 05: Won 16-9 v Scotland, Won 18-17 v England, Lost 18-24 v Wales

* France coach Bernard Laporte will be looking to save grace after last month’s 24-18 loss to Wales in Paris. The French have not lost back-to-back Championship matches since 2001 – and are winless in Dublin since their 10-9 victory of 1999.

Results: 04: Lost 17-35 v France, Won 36-15 v Wales, Won 19-13 v England, Won 19-3 v Italy, Won 37-16 v Scotland, Lost 17-31 v South Africa, Lost 17-26 v South Africa, Won 17-12 v South Africa, Won 55-6 v USA, Won 21-19 v Argentina. 05: Won 28-17 v Italy, Won 40-13 v Scotland, Won 19-13 v England

* Eddie O’Sullivan’s side are on a record seven-game winning run in the Six Nations. In recent years however as Ireland coach, O’Sullivan has watched his charges beaten three times in four meetings with the French – including the 2003 World Cup quarter final loss (21-43) at Melbourne’s Colonial Stadium.


March 2000: France 25 Ireland 27, Stade de France
February 2001: Ireland 22 France 15, Lansdowne Road
April 2002: France 44 Ireland 5, Stade de France
March 2003: Ireland 15 France 12, Lansdowne Road
February 2004: France 35, Ireland 17, Stade de France