Joe Schmidt's Ireland got the better of France during the Six Nations earlier this year, and a repeat of that close contest looks on the cards in Cardiff.
It’s the Rugby World Cup Pool D decider, as leaders Ireland and second place France put their 100 per cent records at stake in a bid to avoid facing the dreaded All Blacks in the quarter-finals.
The Irish arrived at this tournament as Europe’s greatest power having won successive Six Nations championships, but they were somewhat naively ignored at the top of the betting. Now they have to be recognised.
Joe Schmidt’s side are 8/11 with Ladbrokes for victory here and 4/6 favourites to top the group, because they are undefeated against Les Bleus in four matches.
Irish form has been fine in this tournament so far and it’s their defence which has caught the eye, with no side conceding fewer than the 26 points they’ve given up.
Their stout and hugely experienced forwards mean it may be wise to consider an Irishman to get over the whitewash early on, and punters should look no further than Tommy Bowe. He has racked up 15 tries for his country, and will be pivotal here with Keith Earls absent. The Ulster man holds awesome top odds of 11/1 with Paddy Power to be the first tryscorer.
The French, who are 11/8 with Coral to take the spoils, have actually had the better of these clashes over the last decade or so, winning seven of the previous dozen encounters.
Irish might may be too much for Les Bleus here, but there can be little doubt that this will be tight. The last seven contests have been decided by seven points or less and, with so much at stake here, expect a nervy ending at the Millennium Stadium.
Bearing that in mind, Ireland to win this contest by 1-5 points looks massively long at 9/2 with Paddy Power, while those looking for a touch more security can go with and Irish success by 1-10 points at 2/1 with the same bookmaker.
BETTING TIP: Ireland win by 1-5 points @ 9/2 with Paddy Power.
All odds were correct at time of posting.