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France Ramping Up The Mind Games Ahead Of Ireland Showdown

France Ramping Up The Mind Games Ahead Of Ireland Showdown
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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The opening weekend of the 2022 Six Nations went largely as expected. Ireland and France recorded bonus point victories at home, while Scotland also made their favourites tag pay when they hosted England at Murrayfield.

It sets up the remainder of the championship beautifully, most notably when it comes to the game in Paris on Saturday afternoon.

Both France and Ireland will enter that fixture knowing that a victory could go a long way to deciding who wins this year's championship, with those two teams looking like the favourites at this early stage.

The French were favourites before the tournament kicked off, something that is unlikely to change despite a patchy performance against Italy yesterday. However, Antoine Dupont doesn't see it that way.

Antoine Dupont ramps up mind games ahead of Six Nations showdown

Speaking after the Italian victory, he insisted that Ireland would be favourites heading into the game this weekend.

The supporters will have seen that we made a lot of errors this evening and a lot of poor decisions in difficult conditions.

At least we can be satisfied with the result. We were imprecise in all parts of the pitch, we gave them things, penalties, forward passes. We have to correct those and be more serious and rigorous. The chances will then follow.

We know Ireland is a big cheese, surely the favourites for the championship. They showed how good they are yesterday, we know what awaits us.


Whether Antoine Dupont actually believes these comments is highly doubtful. It is much more likely that he is attempting to shift the pressure onto Ireland ahead of such a big game.

In truth, France should be feeling the pressure. They have not won the Six Nations since 2010 and possess the most talented squad in the tournament this year. Nothing less than a championship win should be acceptable, especially when they will play their biggest threat at home.


Meanwhile, when asked by Midi Olympique, Montpellier coach Philippe Saint-André has claimed that Ireland are no longer dependent on Johnny Sexton and could actually be better off without him.

Less and less (dependant on Sexton), I find In fact, to be honest, they are maybe better without him.

I like Ross Byrne, he is capable of exceptional things. Yes, Sexton is an icon, he remains the starter, but Byrne has played more than him this season at Leinster. They have a new generation who are showing up well, who are interesting.

Odd comments, especially when Ross Byrne has not even been included in Ireland's Six Nations squad this year.

It will certainly be interesting to see how it all plays out at the Stade de France on Saturday.

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