Dimitri Yachvili has been ruled out of France’s Six Nations encounter with Ireland this weekend, but that should not deter punters from backing the tournament favourites to win the match at 1/4.
France are 11/8 in the Six Nations odds to collect the Grand Slam this year, and turned in a professional performance when beating Italy 30-12 in Paris last weekend.
Yachvili featured prominently during that match, scoring two penalties and missing another two in an eventful hour on the pitch before being substituted.
After a recurring back problem, the Biarritz scrum-half was hoping to be fit for the Stade de France clash this weekend, but coach Phillipe Saint-Andre has decided to withdraw him from the squad after no significant improvements to his condition, allowing replacement Julien Dupuy to better integrate into the squad.
The France coach explained in a statement: “We thought primarily of the player’s well-being but the pain does not go.
“In order not to damage the preparation of this important game, I decided to make a decision 48 hours ahead of the match and allow his successor to work with us during the next two days on the combinations that we have put in place for two weeks.”
Newly-appointed as France boss, Saint-Andre has made it clear that he will take no prisoners in his new role, as proven by the four changes he made through choice ahead of Yachvili’s withdrawal.
With an abundance of fringe players hoping to make their mark at the weekend, it looks as though the absence of Yachvili should not pose such a problem that France won’t be able to overcome a nine-point handicap at 10/11.
It is worth noting that Ireland have failed to record a victory in France since 1972, and with that trend looking likely to continue here, 1/2 odds for France to be leading at half-time and full-time, as they did in their Six Nations opener, will appeal to punters.