A miracle or a massacre? – From the Irish Independent:
Le massacre du printemps, incidentally, was a headline from L’Equipe on the morning of the 1992 fixture in the old Parc des Princes, where Ireland managed never to win — against France or Argentina. Philippe Saint-Andre was on the wing that day when the home team romped home 44-12.
For optimum effect we fiddle around with the stats from Ireland’s record in Paris, but the one that best illustrates the theme is that we have won two of our last 31 games there. You could argue that Scotland’s return of 2/33 in Twickenham is worse, but at least that run includes four draws. We never got that comfort. And our 13-game stretch from 1974 to ’98 is a standalone for the worst championship run of anyone in one city.
Jonny Sexton was 14 for the second of those Ireland victories, in 2000. Coincidentally, his father Jerry, who would play scrumhalf on the first Irish schools team, was the same age for the first, in 1972. Perhaps we should be less hung up on whether the fixture is in winter or spring and be more concerned with the awfulness of the sequence itself.
I think France are a good team but Ireland are better – but you must score many points to beat France away. Again from the Irish Indie Neil Francis does some detail on what needs to change in Ireland’s approach. It’s very good stuff till the last paragraph….
….Ireland have to gamble and if they do, they can upset the French who don’t like it when you do unexpected things and their energies and concentration to the task can be stretched.
If we force them to channel their energies differently, this will flummox and frustrate them.
What would you expect from a nation who exercised more of its national will fighting Disney and the Big Mac than they did the Nazis? If Ireland express themselves and take a chance they have a chance
Very best of luck.