Skip to content
  • Date: Friday February 2, 20:00 GMT
  • Location: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
  • Teams: France vs Ireland

Check out the best betting sites in the UK and the best bookmakers for the Six Nations to find the best place to make your picks.

Six Nations favourites clash in opening match

France and Ireland, ranked fourth and second in the world respectively, come together in Paris in the opening match of the 2024 Six Nations. France, who last won the tournament in 2022, host reigning champions Ireland in Paris. Both teams, who were highly fancied in the Rugby World Cup, lost epic quarter-final matches and will be looking to bounce back and win the Six Nations. At the time of writing, to win the tournament, France are priced at 11/10 to and Ireland are priced at 15/8 with Coral.

Check out our Six Nations tournament preview for more information.


France, Six Nations champions in 2022, went into the World Cup determined to use home advantage to secure a first world title. They will have been disappointed to fall at the quarter-final stage, but their exit was no disgrace as they lost out narrowly to eventual winners South Africa in a pulsating match. While the French will be glad of home advantage, Ireland represent a stern test and France will be determined to take a step towards wrestling the title back by striking an early blow against their most dangerous rivals.

Maxime Lucu comes into the side in place of absent scrum-half Antoine Dupont who has withdrawn to conecentrate on Sevens ahead of his county´s home Olympics this summer.

Romain Ntamack reamians unavailable so Lucu will partner Bordeaux club-mate Matthieu Jalibert in the half-backs.

Yoram Moefana is preferred to Louis Bielle-Biarrey at wing, with Paul Gabrillagues and Paul Willemse named in the second row and Francois Cros replacing injured Anthony Jelonch at blindside flanker, in four further changes to the side that lost to eventual winners South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals.

France: T Ramos; D Penaud, G Fickou, J Danty, Y Moefana; M Jalibert, M Lucu; C Baille, P Mauvaka, U Atonio; P Gabrillagues, P Willemse; F Cros, C Ollivon, G Alldritt (capt).

Replacements: J Marchand, R Wardi, D Aldegheri, R Taofifenua, C Woki, P Boudehent, N Le Garrec, L Bielle-Biarrey.


Ireland are reigning Six Nations Champions and are ranked number two in the world. They performed very well in the World Cup, however, as the number one ranked team in the world going into the tournament, going out in the quarter finals would have been a big disappointment. They lost out in a classic contest against the eventual runners-up New Zealand, ending a long unbeaten run. A trip to Paris is a tough ask for any side in the world, but Ireland will be determined to retain their title and will be looking to claim a win.

Garry Ringrose will miss out because of a shoulder injury as Robbie Henshaw is drafted in at centre and Joe McCarthy starts at lock.McCarthy’s inclusion means James Ryan is on the bench. Ulster’s Iain Henderson has been left out of the matchday 23. Calvin Nash will start on the wing due to Mack Hansen’s absence through injury.

Jack Crowley takes over from retired Johnny Sexton at fly-half. Peter O’Mahony will skipper the side.

Ireland: H Keenan; C Nash, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Lowe; J Crowley, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, D Sheehan, T Furlong; J McCarthy, T Beirne; P O’Mahony (capt), J van def Flier, C Doris.

Replacements: R Kelleher, C Healy, F Bealham, J Ryan, R Baird, J Conan, C Murray, C Frawley.


Expect a close match of high quality. This one could go either way. I am backing the French to take advantage of the home crowd and get the win, especially given Ireland’s injury situation.

France vs Ireland
FR Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France
, Six Nations Rugby 2024
18+. T&Cs Apply.
18+ New UK+IRE Customers. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 1x £20 free bet. Free bet available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. for Horse Racing valid for 7 days. Restrictions + T&Cs apply

Odds correct as of 15/01/24 at 10:30. Odds subject to change.

Check the best bookmakers for the Six Nations and the best betting sites for rugby union.

Check out our guide to Italy vs England

Share this article
Article link copied!

Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise