France v Ireland: World Cup finalists to claim narrow win

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France achieved a 30-12 triumph over Italy in Phillipe Saint-Andre’s first match in charge in Paris last weekend, but the coach was unhappy at what he perceived a lack of ruthlessness from his players, and he will expect them to win at 1/4 against Ireland.

The 11/8 tournament favourites face Ireland, and with four changes made by their new no-nonsense chief, many of the French side will have a point to prove as they look to cement a regular starting spot.

Ireland are 3/1 in the Six Nations odds to cause an upset in Paris, and it should be noted that they were very unlucky in defeat to Wales last week, where a last-minute penalty saw them suffer a 23-21 loss at the Aviva Stadium.

Fly-half Jonny Sexton has taken much criticism in the aftermath of the game, following his squandering of two penalty kicks along with a missed conversion and drop-goal, but coach Joe Schmidt is expected to persevere with him ahead of Ronan O’Gara, and he will have a point to prove in this match, which is 25/1 to result in a tie.

France are 10/11 to complete a victory while offering a nine-point head start to their visitors, though it seems as though a fired-up Ireland could keep the score down, so a better option could be to back them at the same price to win with a nine-point start.

Saint-Andre’s men are 1/2 to be leading at both half-time and full-time, and this still seems a good price to consider, even though the encounter is expected to be tight.

Keeping in mind that there seems to be little to choose between the teams, France have an added pedigree and quality in their ranks, the 5/1 for a home victory by a margin of 1-5 points looks good, while 9/2 odds for France to win by 6-10 points also appeals.

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