France look to break new ground
February 7, 2011
France's Maxime Medard wraps up Ireland's Geordan Murphy during their clash at Croke Park in 2009 © Getty Images
Ireland and France are set to meet in a major Test for the 87th time since 1909 when they go head-to-head at the new Lansdowne Road in Sunday.
The game will be the 35th meeting of the two sides at Irish rugby's traditional home - where France have won 17 times but it will their first experience of the re-vamped stadium.
France lead the overall series by 52 wins to 29 thanks to their 33-10 victory in Paris last year with the last of the five drawn matches taking place in 1985. France have won eight of their nine most recent encounters, including the Rugby World Cup matches of 2003 (in Melbourne) and 2007 (Paris) but lost on their last visit to Dublin in 2009.
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 in 2008.
Darrouy heads the list of try scorers for the overall series, crossing eight times. O'Driscoll is the leading Irish try scorer with eight to date.
Irishmen hold the other major records for the matches: Ronan O'Gara has scored 109 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.
Note: 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.
Ireland-France results in the Six Nations:
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