All the superlatives are out before this explosive Ireland-France.
The final of the Tournament before the letter - "
Grand Slam Decider
" according to the terminology of the British press -, but not only.
It is above all the ultimate shock currently on the oval planet.
A high altitude summit between the world's two premier nations.
A first in the Six Nations Tournament.
Since the introduction of this ranking in 2003, it had indeed never hosted such a poster, the nations of the South always monopolizing at least one of the first two places.
Calendar and results 6 Nations
Ranking Tournament 6 of Nations
The northern hemisphere has finally dislodged the regulars that are New Zealand and South Africa.
And not thanks to a calendar accident.
Ireland has been in first place for twenty-nine weeks.
Has beaten the All Blacks at home twice in recent months (two historic firsts) before dominating South Africa and Australia in November.
Three cadors also on the hunting board of the XV of France for two years.
A XV of France which presents itself in Dublin, this Saturday (3:15 p.m., France 2), with the longest series of invincibility in its history: 14 victories.
Read alsoXV of France: a (small) slap and it starts again?
Fourteen is also the number of consecutive victories of the XV of Clover in its Dublin lair.
Two years of invincibility since a defeat against… the Blues in February 2021 (13-15 in an Aviva Stadium behind closed doors, Covid obliges).
Blues who are undoubtedly the current black beast of the Greens since they have won the last three confrontations (2020, 2021 and 2022).
Ah yes, the Irish have, last Saturday, displayed their current mastery by dominating Wales, 34-10 in Cardiff, at the opening of this Tournament.
A physical training
Finally, we can add that the flagship province of Ireland, Leinster, is absolutely unplayable this season.
Seventeen games played (all competitions combined), seventeen victories, including thirteen with the offensive bonus!
On the European scene, the demonstration is even more relentless: 28 tries scored (7 per match on average) and all the points (184, with conversions) scored this way in the Champions Cup, Jonathan Sexton and his teammates having not attempt the slightest penalty in three hundred and twenty minutes of play. And as the coach of the Clover XV, Andy Farrell, started eight Leinstermen (plus three others on the bench)…
When New Zealand and South Africa seem to be struggling (only 8 wins each in 13 games in 2022), no need to look further for the two favorites for the world title in seven months in France.
Two teams which, logically, have the last two best players in the world in their ranks: scrum half Antoine Dupont, crowned in 2021, and third row Josh van der Flier, crowned in 2022. Last year, in a confrontation that already smelt of powder, each had gone to his personal test.
But France had finally won 30-24 after a constant fight, a meeting of incredible intensity.
Read alsoIreland-France: the war of rucks deciphered by William Servat
Can the Blues do it again?
Last Sunday in Rome, they struggled against Italy.
Undisciplined (18 penalties against, a total which would be prohibitive against the Irish), dominated in the percussion, uninspired with the ball in hand.
Except that the staff recalled that the XV of France is always rough when it starts a competition.
And clarified that the heavy physical preparation carried out for two weeks was aimed at the Gaelic cauldron, with the assumed risk of heavy legs in the Roman arena.
It is also certain that the Habs, aware of the adversity and the danger, will raise their level of concentration and commitment.
Ireland are a well-established and confident team.
She has been performing for months, she has mastered her rugby.
We know where we are stepping and we know that we will be well received.
We also know that we will have to raise our level in all sectors compared to Italy
”, confirms the captain, Antoine Dupont.
There is chaos in Eire.
Where one of the two identical ambitions - to complete a Grand Slam seven months before the World Cup - will be shattered.
If we want to continue to write history, it goes through a victory in Ireland
", sums up Romain Ntamack.
A feat to also, by the way, steal the first place in the world from his opponent of the day.