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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

France v Ireland – RWC Stat Attack

France v Ireland – RWC Stat Attack

We take a look at some of the key facts and figures ahead of Ireland’s fourth and final Rugby World Cup Pool D match against France at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 4.45pm).

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

– France have met Ireland on 93 occasions at Test level, winning 55, losing 31 and drawing seven. France also recognise a 4-3 win at Lansdowne Road in 1946 as a full Test but Ireland did not award caps

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– Ireland are unbeaten in four, their longest streak without a defeat by France since a similar four-match run in the early 1970s (1971-1973)

– France have met Ireland at three previous Rugby World Cups, winning by at least 22 points on every occasion

– If Ireland avoid defeat in this match, it will be their longest unbeaten run of results against France in nearly 90 years, since winning six in-a-row between 1924 and 1928

– Their last encounter was in this year’s Six Nations Championship and ended in an 18-11 win for Ireland despite France scoring the only try of the match via Romain Taofifenua in the 70th minute. The Irish held on for the last 10 minutes to win by seven points

– A year earlier, Ireland clinched the Six Nations title in Paris, winning an even tighter match 22-20 in Brian O’Driscoll’s 141st and final Test match. France came close to breaking Irish hearts late on but Damien Chouly’s ‘try’ in the right corner was correctly ruled out for a forward pass

– France’s replacement scrum half Morgan Parra is already his country’s highest points scorer against Ireland with 58 points. Frederic Michalak has 46

– Ireland captain Paul O’Connell will equal Ronan O’Gara’s Irish record of playing in 16 Tests against France. England’s Jason Leonard holds the international record as he played in 18 Tests against France

FRANCE:

– France will win Pool D if they beat Ireland, or draw but score four tries without Ireland doing so

– Winning Pool D will mean playing a quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, October 18 against Argentina. Finishing second will mean a quarter-final a day earlier at the same stadium against New Zealand

– France have made two personnel changes and one positional switch from their starting line-up against Canada. It is the fewest changes for a France team in their last RWC pool phase match since 1991

– Number 8 Louis Picamoles and winger Noa Nakaitaci, who both started the first two France matches, return to the side in place of Bernard le Roux and Remy Grosso. Damien Chouly switches from number 8 against Canada to openside flanker

– Picamoles will win his 50th cap, becoming the 53rd France player to achieve this milestone

– The selected team comprises of 13 starters from France’s opening match against Italy, with the only changes being the then injured Wesley Fofana for Alexandre Dumoulin at 12 and Brice Dulin for Yoann Huget, whose RWC 2015 ended in that match

– Noa Nakaitaci will play on the right wing, having played on the left in his first two matches

– Thierry Dusautoir will captain France for the 55th time, joining Australian legend John Eales in seventh place on the all-time list

– Ten of France’s starting line-up also started the Six Nations match against Ireland in February which they lost 18-11. Seven of the eight forwards – all except le Roux –  return from that day and three of the backs (Wesley Fofana, Mathieu Bastareaud and Scott Spedding)

– If Frederic Michalak scores 16 points, he will have scored 200 for France in 22 Tests under Philippe Saint-Andre’s leadership

– If Nicolas Mas comes on, he will equal Sylvain Marconnet’s France record of 84 caps for a prop. The world record is held by Gethin Jenkins, who has played 123 Tests for Wales and the British & Irish Lions at prop

– Wesley Fofana and Mathieu Bastareaud will play together in the centre for the 13th time for France. Only Damien Traille and Yannick Jauzion (15) played more often at 12 and 13 for France in the professional era

– Prop Rabah Slimani and centre Wesley Fofana have both scored tries in both of their RWC matches and will be looking to continue that sequence

IRELAND:

– Ireland will win Pool D if they avoid defeat against France – as long as the French do not score four tries in a drawn match in which Ireland do not score four tries

– Winning Pool D will mean playing a quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, October 18 against Argentina. Finishing second will mean a quarter-final a day earlier at the same stadium against New Zealand

 – Paul O’Connell will equal Brian O’Driscoll’s RWC caps record of 17 when he takes to the field

– The Ireland starting line-up have 804 caps, the second most deployed by Ireland at a RWC after the side who beat Georgia 14-10 in 2007

– With an average age of 29 years and 202 days, the selected team is Ireland’s third oldest in RWC history, after the team who beat Romania 44-10 at RWC 2015 and the side who played Georgia in 2007

– There are three changes to the side that defeated Italy, the fewest of RWC 2015 for the Ireland team. Cian Healy replaces Jack McGrath in the front row, with McGrath dropping to the bench. Devin Toner comes into the second row in place of Iain Henderson, who was man-of-the-match against Italy. Henderson is among the replacements. Simon Zebo is replaced at full-back by Rob Kearney and drops out of the matchday 23

– Among the replacements, only Sean Cronin is out of the matchday 23, with Richardt Strauss coming in as reserve hooker

– The front row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross will start together for the 30th time, the first time this has been achieved in the professional era and the first time any northern Hemisphere front row combination has managed this

– The record for all Test rugby is 36, set by Tony Daly, Phil Kearns and Ewen McKenzie of Australia, with Craig Dowd, Sean, Fitzpatrick and Olo Brown of New Zealand managing 34, and Steve McDowall, Sean Fitzpatrick and Richard Loe having 33 starts together

Rory Best will make his 10th RWC appearance, which puts him equal with Keith Wood as Ireland’s hooker with the most RWC appearances

– If Eoin Reddan comes on, he will make his 10th RWC appearance, the most for an Ireland scrum half

Jonathan Sexton needs four points to equal 50 RWC points

Ian Madigan needs six points to reach 100 Test points

Jonathan Sexton and Ian Madigan are tied on seven conversions each at RWCs, and one more for either will move them into fourth on the list for conversions at RWCs by Irish players, behind Ronan O’Gara, Eric Elwood and David Humphreys

Keith Earls can extend his record haul of eight RWC tries, having moved one ahead of Brian O’Driscoll’s seven against Italy