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What Are The Odds?

What Are The Odds?

Paddy Power is back to give us the lowdown on the odds for Ireland’s GUINNESS Summer Series clash with France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

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The eventual results detract somewhat from the numerous positives thus far in Ireland’s World Cup warm-up programme, but it has been far from bad.

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Aside from narrowly coming out on the wrong side of the final scorelines, there were lots of encouraging signs as the trip to New Zealand moves ever closer.

An experimental side came close to winning at Murrayfield and the spirit shown in coming back at France in Bordeaux was heartening and by way of a bonus, already much of the World Cup squad have got much-needed game-time under their belts.

That said, for all the non-result based positives, it is always nice to come away from any game with victory and the Irish team will be eager to make their first addition to the ‘win’ column at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.

The games against Scotland and France suggested that it may not be far away, but ideally it needs to happen sooner rather than later before it becomes an albatross around the collective neck.

The visit of France is a great opportunity to grab a win because beating les Bleus would not only indicate that preparations are well and truly on track, but would also give the exponential confidence which comes with beating Ireland’s biggest bogey team of the last three decades.

Although the team will only bear a passing resemblance to Marc Lievremont’s first choice line-up, the depth of talent available to France makes it formidable and will feature plenty of familiar faces who have broken Irish hearts in the past.

That makes the job at hand all the more difficult, but equally means there is more to be taken from a victory or good performance.

If you are of the opinion that Ireland are simmering nicely before coming to the boil, the handicap option of Ireland -2 points @ 10/11 looks worth a punt.

Winning the game is not the be all and end all, but the desire to break the pre-World Cup duck should see a performance of intensity from Ireland, particularly with the return to the starting team of the talismanic Brian O’Driscoll and the totemic Paul O’Connell.

With the French coach likely to use his bench to its fullest extent, if Ireland do get into the ascendency, they could pull clear of their visitors and that make the Alternative Handicaps worth a look and Ireland are 15/8 to win -8 points and 11/4 to win -11 points.

Ireland will also be anxious to touch down for their first try in over three hours of rugby. With some of the attacking talent they have at their disposal, there is no need for panic of any sort, but signs that the Irish threat is alive and well would be welcome.

Keith Earls is one to look out for in the first try scorer betting. He has not scored for Ireland in 10 appearances, but he was excellent for Munster in the closing stages of the season and his presence on the wing will give the French back-three plenty to worry about.

Earls is 11/1 to score the first try of the match and 11/2 to score the first Irish try of the match.

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