Ireland entertains the flair of the French team on Saturday 7th February 2009 at Croke Park with a 5pm kick-off. This mouth-watering clash will be televised live on RTE 2, Irish Radio 1 and the BBC if you’re not fortunate enough to have a ticket.
If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for this feast of attacking rugby, expect not only the huge outbursts of support for the Irish team but also an increased passionate atmosphere with a large French support in attendance for this fixture.
Both teams enter the 2009 Six Nations in a state of transition – France finished 3rd and Ireland 4th in last years tournament. It was clear from this poor showing of indifferent form that something had to give, and it was no surprise when Irish coach Eddie O’Sullivan stood down and was replaced by esteemed Munster coach Declan Kidney.
Ireland have suffered a major drop in their rugby standing since landing their third Triple Crown in four years in 2007. Having largely under performed in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France (including a hammering at the hands of the French), and having at best average showing in the Six Nations 2008, the pride of the Irish team has been stung, and the promise that was shown in the 2008 Autumn Internationals against New Zealand and Argentina bodes well for the future, with some young players being brought into the fold, which was badly needed.
Ireland endured an agonizing 3-point defeat to France (conceding a late try to Clerc after dominating the game) in this corresponding fixture in the 2007 Championship. The French have been a “bogey” side for this Irish side in recent years, with a Six Nations win last coming in 2003 for Ireland.
Ireland, now captained by arguably the best centre in world rugby, Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll, will be hoping young talents such as Rory Best, Stephen Ferris, Tommy Bowe, and Munster starlet Keith Earls will be able to kick off the 2009 season in style against “Les Blues”.
The French team is currently coached by Marc Lievremont, and the players to watch out for are: Jean- Baptiste Elissade, Benoit Baby, Cedric Heymans and Sebastien Chabal. The team are known for their high octane fast playing, and can counter attack very quickly so the Irish defence will have to be on their guard for sure!
Croke Park is located just off Jones Road in Dublin 3 and is a stadium that can accommodate 82,000 spectators – no doubt it will be full to capacity for this game. Due to the huge demand for this game, tickets sold quickly, and the game is a sell out.
Find out more about Croke Park.
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For further information on where to stay near the stadium, check out our blog on Dublin Hotels Near Croke Park Stadium.
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