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No team likes to give up their Six Nations title and, after winning the 2022 tournament, France are still in with a hope, albeit a very slight one, of lifting the trophy again in the 2023 Six Nations. This Saturday sees the final round of fixtures: Scotland host Italy at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh at 12:30 GMT; France welcome Wales to the Stade de France, Saint-Denis at 14:45 GMT; with Ireland and England concluding the competition at 17:00 GMT at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
France ended a 12 year wait for a Six Nations title last year, so let’s look at how they have got on so far in this campaign and, exploring all 2023 Six Nations scenarios, explore how they can win this year’s Six Nations.
A Respectable Six Nations Performance for France
- 1 A Respectable Six Nations Performance for France
- 2 France Six Nations Chances: Slim, but the Hope Remains Alive
- 3 France vs Wales – The First of the Two Key Matchups
- 4 Grand Slam – Not an Option for France
With only one defeat from their four matches so far, France come into this final round of games in second place, four points behind Ireland at the top of the table. A win for the French over Wales will keep the tournament alive until the final game of the competition.
It has been an exciting 2023 Six Nations so let’s take a look at how France have got on across the previous rounds.
A Close Shave in Rome
France got off to a flying start in the first half against Italy but then almost came unstuck due to a fine comeback from the hosts in Round 1. In spite of France being 19-6 ahead at one point, Italy came back to lead 24-22 before the 2022 title holders eventually won 29-24.
The Unbeaten Run Ends
Les Blues came into Round 2 with a 14-match unbeaten run which took them back to November 2021. However, the streak was ended by the world number one side, Ireland, who produced a strong display to win 32-19 in Dublin.
Back To Winning Ways in Paris
Unbeaten Scotland came to the Stade de France in Round 3, with genuine hopes of winning the Six Nations and even a Grand Slam. However, it was not to be as three tries inside the first 18 minutes set France en route to a 32-21 victory.
History Makers at Twickenham
France inflicted England’s heaviest home defeat in Round 4, a result which extinguished any slim hopes the hosts had of challenging for the 2023 Six Nations. It was the first time France had won at Twickenham since 2007 and the 53-10 victory margin did not flatter a brilliant Les Blues.
France Six Nations Chances: Slim, but the Hope Remains Alive
France are the only team who can prevent Ireland winning the Six Nations for the first time since 2018. However, France can win Six Nations only by an incredible bounce-back from England who were so destroyed by the French themselves last week. We run through the Six Nations scenarios and outcomes below.
The Scotland vs Italy clash will not make a difference to the top of the table. Even if Scotland win and pick up a bonus point, they will finish on 15 points, four points below Ireland’s current total.
Coming up after the match in Edinburgh, France take on Wales with this game crucial to the final standings. If France win, but do not score four tries, they will finish on 19 points, level with Ireland’s total. They will then require Ireland to lose to England at home, and a points difference swing of 20 to see the Six Nations trophy stay in Paris. However, if Les Blues can register four tries in a victory, all they will require is a win for England in Dublin later that evening – nice and simple, right?
France vs Wales – The First of the Two Key Matchups
Although Wales lead France 52-48 in the head to head clashes, it is France who have won the last four matches between the sides. However, the last two games have been very tight with France returning from Cardiff with a 13-9 win in 2022 after a 32-30 victory in Paris the previous year. Wales have been disappointing in the 2023 Six Nations and nearly all experts are predicting a heavy win for the hosts.
Grand Slam – Not an Option for France
Last year’s Six Nations win for France also saw them secure the Grand Slam. However, due to the defeat against Ireland in Round 2, the French can not make it back-to-back Grand Slams this year. Although England have claimed the most Grand Slams (13) to Wales (12) with France (10) in third place, Les Blues have picked up six of the last 14 (1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2022).
Ireland require a win over England to win the tournament and secure their own Grand Slam. If this happens, they will move onto four Grand Slams, six behind France’s total.
As we have outlined above, it is a long-shot for France to retain their title. However, they have played some brilliant rugby across the competition and their performance against England at Twickenham was one of the all time best seen in the Six Nations. Antoine Dupont has been in fine form and there is a genuine possibility that he will retain the Player of The Tournament trophy, even if France fail to retain the Six Nations.
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