Fixture in Focus: Ireland v France

France will travel to the Aviva Stadium seeking revenge in the penultimate round of the 2019 Six Nations.

France will travel to the Aviva Stadium seeking revenge in the penultimate round of the 2019 Six Nations.

Last time the sides met Johnny Sexton scored a stunning drop goal with the final kick of the match to snatch victory in Paris.

The last-gasp goal set Joe Schmidt’s side on the path to a 2018 Six Nations grand slam as Ireland dispensed of every opponent they were faced with.

France could well have been the ones toasting a grand slam at the 2018 tournament and will arrive in Dublin hoping to set themselves up for another title tilt.

Classic encounters

In 2009 it was the same set of circumstances but a different location as France arrived in Dublin for round one of the fixtures, but the game was played at Croke Park.

Irrespective of the venue, the outcome was the same as the Irishmen overcame the challenge of the French and all others to go on and complete their first grand slam since 1948.

Tries from Brian O’Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip and Gordon D’Arcy were enough to give Ireland the win as they ran out eventual 30-21 winners.

Jacques Brunel’s side will be hungry for victory, considering the last time they beat Ireland in Dublin in the Six Nations was in 2011.

France arrived as the holders and despite losing the try count three to one, Les Bleus weathered the Irish storm to emerge victorious.

Morgan Parra’s perfect record from the tee proved to be vital and although Ireland rallied late on, mustering a try through Jamie Heaslip, it wasn’t enough as France held on for the win.

However, perhaps the most iconic game between these two sides was played out in 2007 at Croke Park.

France trailed by four points and with a minute on the clock Vincent Clerc danced through the Irish defence to touch down under the posts.

The try and resulting victory put France on course to win the Six Nations despite losing to England at Twickenham.

The Capital

Dublin – The Fair City, the capital of Ireland and, of course, the location of the Aviva Stadium, the venue for Ireland’s home games in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.

There is so much to pack into a weekend in the Irish capital, one of Europe’s great cities.

The Guinness Storehouse is an absolute must-see with the highlight being a perfect pint of the black stuff in the 360-degree panoramic café at the end of the tour – with jaw-dropping views over the whole city.

The River Liffey runs through Dublin and a walk along its banks will take you into the heart of the city.

St Stephen’s Green – one of the largest enclosed city squares in Europe – is a hidden delight with fountains, foliage and fun wherever you look.

And one last tip from the top – always order your Guinness first at the bar in a hefty round. They take a while to pour and need to be left to settle so let your barman get those sorted first before ordering the rest of your drinks.

The Venue

Built on the site of the former Lansdowne Road Stadium, the newly-developed Aviva Stadium will play host to France on Sunday March 3, 2019.

The stadium was officially opened in May 2010 with an increased capacity of over 51,000.

Ireland famously lost their opening Six Nations match at the new stadium when France ran out narrow winners and the 25-23 victory remains the last time France won on Irish soil in the Six Nations.

Since then the men in green have only been defeated on a further two occasions in any Six Nations competition at the Aviva Stadium, winning fifteen and drawing two.