Six Nations | Rugby
Andrew Robinson previews France’s chances in this season’s tournament
Which French team will turn up at the Six Nations this year? We’re not sure, the French public aren’t too sure and the coaching team certainly don’t know. What is certain is that Les Bleus will be entertaining, whether that’s down to embarrassing losses or exciting running rugby that blows other teams away.
Six Nations History
Since the tournament became known as the Six Nations, France have had a fairly good run, picking up five of the 13 titles on offer, the latest of which came in 2010, when they also completed the Grand Slam and notched 13 tries.
The Grand Slam was their first since 2004, but they also managed to take victory in consecutive years in 2006 and 2007, with the latter going down to points difference, when they overcame Ireland by just four.
France have never suffered the ignominy of picking up the wooden spoon in the Six Nations and will be hoping this isn’t the year.
France come into the tournament in fine form after a clean sweep of wins in the tough autumn internationals. The guidance of Philippe Saint-Andre saw them secure comfortable wins over Australia, Argentina and Samoa, scoring bags of tries in the process, which will have their Six Nations rivals quaking in their boots.
With the French playing a free-flowing, attacking game, which the crowd at Stade de France absolutely love, they will be hard to hold back.
France open with a trip to Italy, which looks like an easy encounter on paper, but they did lose there for the first time in 2010. Despite this they are 1/10 favourite to get their campaign started with a win.
Bigger tests wait for Saint-Andre’s side, with trips to Twickenham and the Aviva Stadium, to face England and Ireland taking place in week three and four.
If they can get results in these two consecutive away days, they should be able to finish the tournament off in style with a home game against Scotland.
Players to watch
The squad is packed full of powerful and fearsome forwards that you wouldn’t like to meet down a dark alley, but it’s the back line where the French will put the other to the sword.
Jean-Marcellin Buttin is definitely one to watch. At 21 he’s one of the youngsters of the side, but he’s been in fine form in the Heineken Cup and could surprise his more experienced opponents. His pace at 15 will be a weapon.
Maxime Mermoz and Wesley Fofana are both ready to set the tournament alight, but they could be going up against each other for the 12 shirt. No matter which one comes out the winner, they will light up this year’s Six Nations.
France’s latest Six Nations betting odds with Paddy Power
The French will be in the mix for this year’s title and they are 2/1 second favourites to lift the trophy. If you think their running rugby will dominate you could always take a punt on Les Bleus to win and Fofana to top the tryscoring tables at 20/1.
- Betting: Six Nations 2013
- England Six Nations Betting Preview
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- Italy Six Nations Betting Preview