Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Sunday, 13 February Kick-off: 3pm GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, Red Button and online from 1430-1700; Commentary on Radio 5 live and live text commentary on BBC Sport website
After Ireland stuttered their way to a win over Italy last weekend and France put up an impressive showing in beating the Scots, Jamie Heaslip will really need to hit the ground running if he is to help Ireland win this encounter, writes Rugby World’s Katie Field.
I am glad Jonathan Sexton has kept his place in the Ireland team. I know Ronan O’Gara was cool as a cucumber in slotting that winning drop-goal but it took a team effort to get him in position and Sexton might have landed it too. I am glad Declan Kidney has stuck with his front five. Italy had them under a lot of pressure in the scrums last week but this combination will only improve as they get used to playing together.
It’s also great to see Marc Lievremont making minimal changes to his side. Maybe the catastrophic result against Australia in November has finally taught him that wholesale changes usually bring trouble. Surely Ireland can’t make as many mistakes as they did in Rome, where the knock-ons and bad passes were too numerous to count.
They will need to improve enormously to beat a French side which looked powerful up front and super-confident behind. If both teams bring their A game to the Aviva it should be a great afternoon. Can’t wait!
Ireland: L Fitzgerald (Leinster), F McFadden (Leinster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster, captain), G D’Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), T O’Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), P O’Connell (Munster), S O’Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster).
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster).
France: Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Aurelien Rougerie (Clermont), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Maxime Medard (Toulouse); Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Morgan Parra (Clermont); Thomas Domingo (Clermont), William Servat (Toulouse), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Lionel Nallet (Racing Metro), Thierry Dusautoir (captain, Toulouse), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz).
Replacements: Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Sylvain Marconnet (Biarritz), Jerome Thion (Biarritz), Sebastien Chabal (Racing Metro), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), Yannick Jauzion (Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse).
* Brian O’Driscoll is within touching distance of yet another remarkable milestone – the Championship try-scoring record that has stood since 1933. The Irish captain and try scoring machine took his RBS 6 Nations tournament tally to 23 with Ireland’s only try in their 13-11 win over Italy in Rome last Saturday, one behind Championship record-holder Ian Smith, the Scotland wing.
* France have won 8 of the last 9 meetings between the countries including RWC2003 and RWC2007 successes –Ireland’s win was in their 2009 Grand Slam season
* The five draws have been: 1950 (3‐3 at Paris); 1965 (3‐3 at Dublin), 1971 (9‐9 at Dublin), 1979 (9‐9 at Dublin) & 1985 (15‐15 at Dublin)
* All matches – Played 86, Ireland won 29, France won 52, Drawn 5
* Biggest Wins: Ireland (Points) 31‐43 2006, Ireland recovered from 3‐43 down, Margin 24‐0 1913
* Biggest Win: France Points 45‐10 1996, Margin 44‐5 2002
* Ireland Changes: Jamie Heaslip returns to the Ireland side for the match with France at Dublin in the only change from the team that narrowly beat Italy last weekend in Rome. Heaslip returns at No 8 after being out since December with an ankle injury, which allows Sean O’Brien to move to flanker in place of Denis Leamy, who reverts to the bench. Shane Jennings, the only player not to feature in Rome, drops out of the matchday 22.
* Ireland Injuries: Tommy Bowe (knee) Stephen Ferris (knee) John Hayes Jerry Flannery (calf) Shane Horgan Geordan Murphy (broken foot) Andrew Trimble (broken hand) Rob Kearney (knee)
* France Changes: France make one change to the starting XV from the team that beat Scotland in Paris last Saturday. Full-back Damien Traille switches to centre to replace Maxime Mermoz, who injured shoulder ligaments against the Scots, with Clement Poitrenaud coming off the bench to start at full-back. On the bench, Yannick Jauzion comes in for the promoted Poitrenaud, whilst Sylvain Marconnet is preferred to Luc Ducalcon as substitute prop. Vincent Clerc, a late replacement for David Skrela on the bench against Scotland, keeps his place.
* France Injuries: Romain Millo‐Chluski (calf) Dimitri Szarzewski (achilles) Maxime Mermoz (shoulder ligaments v Scotland) David Skrela (calf injury in training before Scotland)
But what do you think? Some predictions pls!