France eye Croke Park repeat
February 1, 2009
Ireland's Shane Horgan is tackled by France's Sebastien Chabal during their clash at Croke Park in 2007 © Getty Images
Didier Camberabero Vincent Clerc Christian Darrouy Thierry Lacroix Willie-John McBride Brian O'Driscoll Ronan O'Gara Joseph Quinn Philippe Sella Fergus Slattery David Venditti
The nations meet for the 85th time since 1909 in a major Test and for only the second time at Dublin's Croke Park: France won 20-17 through a late Vincent Clerc try there in 2007.
During the popular series of "Victory" internationals in 1946, France beat an Irish XV 4-3 in Dublin. Only France count that match as part of their Test record.
France head the series by 51 wins to 28 and the last of the five drawn matches was in 1985. France have won the seven most recent encounters, including the Rugby World Cup matches of 2003 (in Melbourne) and 2007 (Paris).
Ireland's highest score came in their 31-43 defeat at the Stade de France in 2006 - an extraordinary game in which the Irish trailed 43-3 early in the second half before scoring 28 late points without reply. Ireland's best win was in the early years of the fixture - 24-0 in Cork in 1913.
There have been five try hat-tricks in the series, two by Ireland and three by France. Joe Quinn scored three tries for Ireland in 1913 and Brian O'Driscoll did so in 2000. France's first hat-trick was scored by their left-wing Christian Darrouy in Dublin in 1963, David Venditti repeated the feat in Dublin in 1997 and Vincent Clerc did so in Paris last year.
Darrouy heads the list of try scorers for the overall series, crossing eight times. Brian O'Driscoll is the leading Irish try scorer with seven to date - the same tally as Vincent Clerc in this series.
Irishmen hold the other major records for the matches: Ronan O'Gara has scored 89 overall points (compared with 50 for France by Didier Camberabero), and Willie-John McBride and Fergus Slattery each played 15 times in this fixture. Philippe Sella appeared 13 times for France.
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