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Opta Facts: France v Ireland

Hugo Keenan makes a break 11/2/2023

Try-scoring full-back Hugo Keenan is pictured in action during Ireland's 32-19 Guinness Six Nations win over France last February ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Check out the Opta Facts, provided by Stats Perform, as the countdown continues ahead of Friday’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations opener between France and reigning champions Ireland in Marseille (kick-off 9pm local time/8pm Irish time).

– France have won three of their last four Six Nations matches against Ireland (L1 in 2023), this after having won just one of their preceding eight clashes in the Championship (D2, L5)

– Ireland won on their first Six Nations trip to France back in 2000. Since then they have won just two of 11 away games against France in the Championship, those victories coming in 2014 and 2018 (D1, L8)

– Both France and Ireland lost at the quarter-final stage of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Ireland’s loss ended a record 17-match winning run for them, while France had won 24 of their previous 26 matches before their loss

– Les Bleus’ defeat to South Africa in the 2023 Rugby World Cup’s last-eight was their first loss on home soil since losing to Scotland in 2021, ending a run of 18 consecutive victories in France

– France have won each of their eight home games under Fabien Galthié which have been played away from the Stade de France, including both previous matches at Stade Vélodrome. In fact, France won their most recent fixture at the Marseille venue, a record 96-0 win over Namibia at the recent World Cup

– France have scored at least one try in each of their last 32 Six Nations matches, the longest such run by any team in the Championship since 2000 and the longest by any side in the Five or Six Nations since les Bleus themselves scored in 36 consecutive fixtures between 1976 and 1984

– Ireland were the last team to keep France try-less in a Six Nations encounter, doing so in 2017

– Ireland made 696 carries in the Six Nations last year, more than any other team, recording the most carry metres (4,286), and metres in contact (1,177) in the process

– France averaged the most metres per carry (6.4), recorded the best gain-line success rate (55%), and beat the most defenders (144) during the 2023 Championship

– France slotted over 85% of their place-kicks in the 2023 Six Nations, the best rate of any team. Based on the difficulty of their kicks, they scored five more points than expected, also the best rate in the Championship last year

– France’s Damian Penaud scored 14 tries in Test rugby in 2023, more than any other player, including a Championship-high five tries in last year’s Six Nations

– Penaud evaded 25 of the 31 tackles attempted on him during the 2023 Championship, with his 81% tackle evasion rate being the highest of any player to face five or more tackles

– Ireland’s Josh van der Flier made 37 carries, 67 tackles, and hit 181 rucks in the 2023 Championship. His combined total of 285 carries, tackles, and rucks was the most of any player across the tournament