The RBS 6 Nations weekend kicks off on Friday night as the Ireland Under-20 and Women’s teams host France at Dubarry Park and Ashbourne respectively, before the Saturday showdown between reigning champions Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium.
UNDER-20 RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, February 13
IRELAND UNDER-20s (2nd) v FRANCE UNDER-20s (1st), Dubarry Park, Buccaneers RFC, 7.05pm (live RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only))
– The only occasion since 2009 that the Ireland Under-20s have won their opening two games in a Six Nations campaign was in 2012
– Ireland’s only defeat in Athlone in their last eight matches at this level was 16-0 to Wales in round 2 last year
– France, who claimed the Grand Slam last season, have now won their last seven Six Nations matches since Ireland beat them in Athlone, 22-5, in 2013
– France have won their last three encounters with Ireland at Under-20 level, while in the Six Nations the tally is four wins apiece
Match Ticket Info: Stand tickets are virtually sold out, so if you want to be sure of a reserved seat, it is best to purchase tickets in advance. However, tickets will be on sale at the turnstiles on match night. There has been exceptional demand for the pre-match function and it is totally sold out.
Ticket prices – Stand €;20; Ground/Terrace €;15; OAP/Student €;10; Family €;30 (admits 2 adults and 2 children to terrace). Contact details are: 0861732711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concession vouchers for Under-16s are available to schools and clubs in the region. Primary school children will be admitted FREE when accompanied by an adult, while secondary school children get in for half-price: €;5.
Present your voucher at the ticket box and you could win an Ireland jersey signed by Robbie Henshaw! The winner’s name will be drawn at half-time. If your school or club wishes to get a supply of the concession vouchers, contact Geraldine at 0861732711.
IRELAND U-20: Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster); Jack Owens (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster) (capt); Jeremy Loughman (UCD/Leinster), Zack McCall (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Oisin Heffernan (Terenure College/Leinster), David O’Connor (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Alex Thompson (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster).
Replacements: Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster), Michael Lagan (Ballymena/Ulster), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht), Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Jack Cullen (Shannon/Munster), Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster), Fergal Cleary (Lansdowne/Leinster).
FRANCE U-20: Thomas Ramos (Toulouse); Arthur Bonneval (Toulouse), Elliot Roudil (La Rochelle), Francois Fontaine (Clermont Auvergne), Lucas Blanc (Bordeaux-Bègles); Lucas Meret (Bordeaux-Bègles), Anthony Meric (Toulon); Rodrigue Neti (Toulouse), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Michaël Simutoga (Clermont Auvergne), Tristan Labouteley (Montpellier), Cyril Cazeaux (Dax), Sékou Macalou (Massy), Lucas Bachelier (Perpignan) (capt), Fabien Sanconnié (Brive).
Replacements: Camille Chat (Racing Metro 92), Thibault Estorge (Clermont Auvergne), Quentin Bethune (Agen), Julien Delannoy (Montpellier), Martin Devergie (Montpellier), Antoine Dupont (Castres Olympique), Damian Penaud (Clermont Auvergne), Valentin Saurs (Agen).
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Martyn Lewis, Stuart Kibble (both Wales)
Television Match Official: Paul Adams (Wales)
WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, February 13
IRELAND WOMEN (2nd) v FRANCE WOMEN (1st), Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm (live stream on www.IrishRugby.ie/live RTÉ 2fm)
– The Ireland Women are seeking to get their Six Nations campaign started with a pair of victories for a third successive year
– Ireland have won their last eight home games (seven at Ashbourne) since England beat them there 31-0 in March 2011
– The France Women have lost just one of their last 13 Test matches: 18-16 to Canada in last year’s World Cup
– France have not lost in the Six Nations since Ireland beat them at Ashbourne in 2013
– Ireland Women’s only two victories over France in 22 previous meetings have both been at Ashbourne in 2009 and 2013
Match Ticket Info: Supporters can pay at the gate. Tickets are priced at €;10 for adults and €;5 for OAPs, students and children. The game will will be streamed live on www.IrishRugby.ie with a commentary team that includes former Ireland Women’s captain Fiona Coghlan.
IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt); Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).
Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exile), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht).
FRANCE WOMEN: Jessy Tremoulière (Romagnat); Caroline Boujard (Perpignan), Elodie Poublan (Montpellier), Céline Héguy (Bayonne), Julie Billes (Perpignan); Camille Cabalou (Bayonne), Yanna Rivoalen (Lille-Villeneuve d’Ascq); Lise Arricastre (Lons), Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier) (capt), Julie Duval (Ovalie Caennaise), Manon André (Blagnac-Saint-Orens), Marine de Nadaï (Montpellier), Coumba Tombe Diallo (Stade Bordelais), Laetitia Grand (Lons), Safi N’Diaye (Montpellier).
Replacements: Wendy Divoux (Perpignan), Elodie Portaries (Montpellier), Céline Ferer (Bayonne), Pauline Rayssac (Montpellier), Cécilia Saubusse (Bordeaux), Carla Neissen (Blagnac-Saint-Orens), Laura Delas (Tarbes), Christelle Chobet (Perpignan).
Referee: Claire Hodnett (England)
Assistant Referees: Helen O’Reilly, Dermot Blake (both Ireland)
RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, February 14
IRELAND (1st) v FRANCE (2nd), Aviva Stadium, 5pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC One/RTÉ Radio 1/IRFU Live Blog)
STATS & FACTS
– Ireland are bidding to win their opening two fixtures of an RBS 6 Nations campaign for the second successive year and the sixth time overall
– Ireland have won their last eight Test matches since their 13-10 reversal at Twickenham in round 3 last season, another victory would make the run their second best of all time, having won 10 games in a row from 2002 to 2003
– Ireland have won their last six fixtures at the Aviva Stadium since narrowly losing to the All Blacks in the last minute of their visit on November 24, 2013
– France have begun an RBS 6 Nations campaign with a pair of victories on nine previous occasions and for four of the last five years
– The only time France has lost a round 2 encounter since 2001 came in 2013 to Wales in Paris.
– France’s lone away victory in their last eleven trips was 19-17 against Scotland at Murrayfield last March
– France have not beaten Ireland in the RBS 6 Nations since they visited the Aviva Stadium in 2011, although the run does include back-to-back drawn encounters in 2012 and 2013
– Overall in the RBS 6 Nations the French have the edge with eight wins to Ireland’s five. France have not been defeated at the Aviva Stadium/Lansdowne Road since 2003
ON THE PITCH
– Conor Murray was the only player to top a century of passes in round 1 of the RBS 6 Nations, his 110 passes being 33 more than any other
– Ireland’s scrum was the best in round one with 7 wins and no losses
– France ran for the most metres with ball in hand in round one with 418, with Scott Spedding their top individual running for 91 metres
– The French lineout against Scotland was the best in the opening round winning 18 and losing just two, Pascal Pape and Yoann Maestri winning four apiece
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster).
FRANCE: Scott Spedding (Bayonne); Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Teddy Thomas (Racing Metro 92); Camille Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), Rory Kockott (Castres Olympique); Eddy Ben Arous (Racing Metro 92), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais), Pascal Papé (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse) (capt), Bernard le Roux (Racing Metro 92), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne).
Replacements: Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle), Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne), Rémi Tales (Castres Olympique), Rémi Lamerat (Castres Olympique).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Television Match Official: Graham Hughes (England)
– Compiled by SFMS Limited (Stuart Farmer Media Services)