State of Play: How are France set ahead of the Six Nations restart?

France celebrate
With the return of the Guinness Six Nations now only a matter of weeks away, France will be particularly eager to get back in action.

With the return of the Guinness Six Nations now only a matter of weeks away, France will be particularly eager to get back in action.

Les Bleus have one match remaining, at home to Ireland on October 31, and they go into it with a chance of winning their first Championship since 2010.

It has been an impressive campaign to date for Fabien Galthie’s side – here’s a look at the state of play for France ahead of the Championship’s resumption…


France began the competition determined to improve on a fourth-placed finish in 2019 but faced a stern test first up against an England side who had reached the World Cup final just three months previously.

Galthie’s first game in charge of the national side turned into one to remember, however, as France stormed into a 17-0 half-time lead and held off an England fightback to emerge 24-17 victors.

New captain Charles Ollivon scored twice in the win and he was at it again the following weekend, going over for the third of France’s five tries in a bonus-point victory over Italy at the Stade de France.

The youthful exuberance which had shone through in their opening two victories was present once more in Cardiff in Round 3, as France won in the Welsh capital for the first time in a decade.

Romain Ntamack scored 17 points, including the crucial third try, as the visitors triumphed 27-23 in a thrilling contest to keep their Grand Slam hopes on track.

Scotland put paid to those in Round 4 with a 28-17 win at BT Murrayfield against a French side who played the majority of the match with 14 men following Mohamed Haouas’ first half red card.

As a result, France slipped below England in the table on points difference before the remaining fixtures were postponed – but their hopes of lifting the Championship trophy are very much alive…


France’s clash with Ireland rounds off Super Saturday on October 31, so they will know the equation before they kick-off.

Les Bleus are level on points with England going into the final weekend, with both on 13 and England currently top courtesy of their marginally superior points difference (+15 to France’s +13).

Should England fail to beat Italy, a victory of any kind will be enough for France to take the crown.

But should both France and England win, it will come down to bonus points – or points difference.

If both sides win with bonus points, France must beat Ireland by at least three match points more than England beat Italy.

Should England defeat Italy without a bonus point, France will know that beating Ireland and scoring four or more tries in the process would see them finish top of the pile.

Plenty of permutations, then – but France must first focus on winning the game against an Ireland side who will be determined to finish their campaign on a high after a tough start.


Captain Charles Ollivon has led by example and is currently the Championship’s leading try-scorer with four, while he has assisted four more.

His back-row partner Gregory Aldritt has made more carries (58) than anyone else in this year’s competition, while Bernard Le Roux is joint-top of the tackle charts with 71.

Further back, half-back pairing Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack have provided the spark for Galthie’s side and, at 23 and 21 years old respectively, could be the heartbeat of the French backline for years to come.