France vs Ireland – Six Nations: Live score, team news and updates as Paul Willemse is SENT OFF to compound Les Bleus’ nightmare start

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for the latest score, team news and updates as France host Ireland in the opening fixture of the 2024 Six Nations. 

France 3-17 Ireland

TMO are having a look at another hit from Willemse… could things go from bad to worse for France.

France 3-17 Ireland

No mistake from Crowley who converts from close range.

Huge credit to him for his smart pass to Beirne and now Les Bleus have a huge task at hand.

No World Cup hangover for Ireland in this opening half an hour.

TRY – France 3-15 Ireland (Tadhg Beirne)

Open door policy from France in defence!

Easy pickings as Crowley finds Beirne who after a cute dropstep finds a gap between two defenders and goes in under the posts.

France 3-10 Ireland

That is a huge conversion from Ramos from huge distance – about five metres inside the Ireland half – even if it was central.

France are on the board finally!

France 0-10 Ireland

Advantage France at the scrum as they try to send it wide but fumble the ball, so we are brought back for the scrum penalty.

Ramos senses a shot a goal….

Crowley misses the conversion!

Crowley misses with the conversion!

And it gets worse as McCarthy knocks it on and France now have a scrum in the middle of the pitch.

Ireland's Jack Crowley kicks a conversion during the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland in Marseille, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

France 0-10 Ireland

Gibson-Park onto Crowley as Ireland charge at the France try-line.

But they don’t do quite enough as France somehow stop Ireland crossing the line.

Brilliant defensive work by France.

However there is a penalty to Ireland not long after following a breakdown and they are going for the conversion.

France 0-10 Ireland

Willemse is out of the sin-bin while Porter returns to the fold after passing his HIA.

France 0-10 Ireland

Crowley makes it 10-0 as he makes no mistake with his kick.

TRY – France 0-8 Ireland (Jamison Gibson-Park)

Ireland extend their lead with the first try of the tournament! Aki plays a huge part and Gibson-Park is waiting in support to run it over.

Ireland's Jamison Gibson-Park scores the opening try during the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland in Marseille, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

France 0-3 Ireland

Sloppy kick from France allows James Lowe to take the catch inside the 22 and Ireland kick out into touch for the France lineout.

France 0-3 Ireland

Gibson-Park sends a box kick up and Penaud just about manages to send it back to Lucu before France then get a penalty and kick to touch after Beirne kept hold of the ball.

Going by his face he wasn’t best pleased with that decision. Chance for France to build here.

France 0-3 Ireland

Nash with a cute chip over the top and he looks for bounce but Ramos is there.

Lots of Irish jerseys who are pushing to extend the lead and the French are in defence mode.

Lucu sends a kick out and Ireland have a lineout around 30 metres away from the tryline.

Yellow card for Willemse

That is a shoulder to head from Willemse!

He is given a yellow card after the TMO review but he will be thrilled that is not a red – they have been given.

Ireland's Andrew Porter receives treatment after taking a blow to the head during the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland in Marseille, Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

France 0-3 Ireland

There is another breakdown penalty for Ireland but we have a stoppage here as Porter is being assessed for an injury.

He goes off for an HIA and there is a TMO review.

France 0-3 Ireland

Ireland are going for it!

It is a dream for Crowley as it is right in front of the sticks and he sends it over for the first points of the Six Nations.

France 0-0 Ireland

Ireland catch the ball lineout – only just – and it’s followed by a maul.

Aki goes on a run but Atonio gets in his way. Beirne then drives Ireland closer to the line.

And another penalty! Two players offside.

France 0-0 Ireland

Penalty! Ireland have the advantage to play with here and the penalty back for offside.

Ireland opt to go for the corner.

It came after some nice play from France after Ireland lost possession in a ruck.

Ireland's scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park (C) kicks the ball from an Ireland ruck during the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, south-eastern France, on February 2, 2024. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

France 0-0 Ireland

Ireland with the early lineout here and Gibson-Park sends it on as they look out wide.

Jack Crowley tries to chip through but is charged down.

France then take the ball and are past the half-way line.

Kick-off

Karl Dickson is the referee and he blows the whistle and Ireland get us going at the Stade Velodrome!

The Guinness Six Nations trophy on display ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Friday February 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU France. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

We are about to get underway

The Olympics may have led to France not playing at their iconic home but they are putting on some show and there is a rousing rendition of their national anthem from the supporters and players.

If that is anything to go by, it shows just the test Ireland will have tonight in a fierce atmosphere in Marseille.

Ireland players sing the national anthem ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Friday February 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU France. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
France's players form a huddle ahead of the start of the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, south-eastern France, on February 2, 2024. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

All change

No Antoine Dupont and no Johnny Sexton it is Gregory Alldritt and Peter O’Mahony leading the way.

And now they are lined up for the national anthems.

Teams are in the tunnel

There’s been some lights show at the Stade Velodrome and now the players are in the tunnels with a number displaying a fierce look on their faces.

France supporters cheer on their team from the stands ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, south-eastern France, on February 2, 2024. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Last five Six Nations matches between these nations

Ireland 26-14 France (2019)

France 35-27 Ireland (2020)

Ireland 13-15 France (2021)

France 30-24 Ireland (2022)

Ireland 32-19 France (2023)

Last year’s match was arguably the game of the entire tournament, so more of the same tonight please!

Ireland's scrum-half Conor Murray (C) and France's wing Ethan Dumortier (R) contest a high ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and France at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on February 11, 2023. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Atmosphere building at the Stade Velodrome

France get their preparations in

France stars have been getting ready for the big match in the dressing room, getting taped up and stretching off, and also on the pitch.

Kick-off is in 20 minutes time!

All eyes on Crowley

Fly-half Jack Crowley will have a lot of attention throughout the Six Nations as he takes on the role left by Ireland great Johnny Sexton.

Ahead of tonight’s game, he revealed that he will try not to compare himself to his predecessor.

He’s been there and done it. I think if I was to compare myself directly to him it would be difficult because he’s been to those big occasions and has delivered on them.

For me, it’s about going and doing it. So, when I get the opportunity it’s about taking it and then we can compare and you can critique and pick it apart and let me know.

We all believe that we have our own strengths and that’s something that you try and play to, without trying to force that, it’s about what’s naturally in you as a player and by fitting into a team like this where lads are so good at preparing, that’s what allows you to perform.’

Paris , France - 23 September 2023; Jack Crowley of Ireland during the 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Ireland at Stade de France in Paris, France. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

What about England?

England kick off their Six Nations campaign against Italy tomorrow at 2.15pm at the Stadio Olimpico.

Ahead of the big game, Joe Marler has revealed what’s in his kitbag to Mail Sport ahead of their opener and there are some surprising inclusions such as a Bane mask and a pregnancy pillow!

Click below to read more…

Farrell wants Ireland to be more ‘ruthless’

Andy Farrell believes that a victory over France tonight would rank alongside any other Irish victory, and has challenged his side to be more ruthless.

He said this week ahead of tonight’s game;

To be more ruthless is what we’re all [after], that’s the gold standard, isn’t it?

The reality is that when you’re playing against good sides like we are in France, it’s not going to be perfect. It’s how we deal with our disappointment, because our expectations are high, etc and just getting on with what’s in front of our face and not compounding [errors].

So, the way that we train and the pressure we put on each other. There’s plenty of imperfections, but how we work on our mentality to get to that next moment is getting better all the time.’

FILE - Ireland's head coach Andy Farrell concentrates prior the start of the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Ireland and Scotland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis outside of Paris on Oct. 7, 2023. Winning the Six Nations championship may at least go some way to erasing the pain of Rugby World Cup frustration for both France and Ireland. Whoever wins their opening-game showdown in Marseille on Friday Feb. 2, 2024 will have taken a big step toward it, given that the winner of the home game between the sides in the past two years has won the tournament and done the Grand Slam. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard, File)

Irish fans taking over Marseille

Irish fans are getting into the spirit of things in Marseille tonight.

Ireland might have left France in disappointment last October, but they will hope to leave with a massive win on their books to kickstart their Six Nations campaign.

Ireland fans ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Friday February 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU France. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

The young stars to watch out for at the Six Nations

Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton, Antoine Dupont and Dan Biggar are among the big names sitting out the Six Nations for various reasons.

Their absences though provide an opportunity for the next generation of talent to come through and shine over the next two years.

Mail Sport’s Alex Bywater picks out his 10 young guns who could take the Six Nations by storm.

Click below to read more…

French side escorted to the stadium earlier this evening

France vs Ireland line-ups

France XV: T Ramos; D Penaud, G Fickou, J Danty, Y Moefana; M Jalibert, M Lucu; C Baille, P Mauvaka, U Atonio; P Gabrillagues, P Willemse; F Cros, C Ollivon, G Alldritt (c)

Replacements: J Marchand, R Wardi, D Aldegheri, R Taofifenua, C Woki, P Boudehent, N Le Garrec, L Bielle-Biarrey

Maxime Lucu replaces Antoine Dupont, linking up with Bordeaux half-back partner Matthieu Jalibert with Romain Ntamack still sidelined with the knee injury that forced him to miss the World Cup.

France's scrum-half Maxime Lucu kicks the ball during the Team run at Stade Velodrome in Marseille on February 1, 2024 on the eve of the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland. (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Ireland XV: H Keenan; C Nash, R Henshaw, B Aki, J Lowe; J Crowley, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, D Sheehan, T Furlong; J McCarthy, T Beirne; P O’Mahony (c), J van der Flier, C Doris

Replacements: R Kelleher, C Healy, F Bealham, J Ryan, R Baird, J Conan, C Murray, C Frawley

Ireland meanwhile have handed Six Nations debuts to Mungster wing Calvin Nash and Leinster lock Joe McCarthy – while Jack Crowley fills in the huge boots of Johnny Sexton at fly-half.

Ireland's flanker and captain Peter O'Mahony attends a press conference at Stade Velodrome in Marseille on February 1, 2024 on the eve of the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland. (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Why are France playing in Marseille tonight?

Understandably, some of you will be thinking why are France playing in Marseille tonight, rather than Paris?

Well that is because the Stade de France is undergoing renovation work ahead of this summer’s Olympic Games.

Les Bleus will play across different venues for a change during this Six Nations

They play Ireland at the Stade Velodrome, and will host Italy in Lille later in the tournament.

France’s game with England will be played out in Lyon.

Fans arrive ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Friday February 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU France. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
This photograph taken on February 2, 2024 in Marseille, south-eastern France, shows the Stade Velodrome ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between France and Ireland. (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP) (Photo by CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Two bruised beasts braced for battle

Two outstanding rugby union nations will each try to put desolation behind them as they open the Six Nations this evening.

To be back in this country barely 100 days after their World Cup hopes were dashed by New Zealand seems a brutal fate for Andy Farrell’s Ireland – but the memory of the quarter-final loss in Paris is gradually dissolving.

For the first time in 14 years, Ireland go into a Six Nations without Johnny Sexto. Yet there remains optimism for the defending champions.

Click below to read more…

Good evening!

And welcome to Mail Sport’s live coverage of tonight’s opening Six Nations match between France and Ireland.

The last two Six Nations champions look to bounce back from World Cup disappointment in a match that could very well determine which way the championship goes on the opening night!

Last year, Ireland defeated France 32-19 at the Aviva Stadium, but tonight they are in Marseille for what promises to be a huge test.

We will bring you all the build-up until kick-off at 8pm and updates throughout the match.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 02: General view outside the stadium prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Ireland at Orange Velodrome on February 02, 2024 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 02: Posolo Tuilaga of France inspects the pitch prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Ireland at Orange Velodrome on February 02, 2024 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Ireland fans ahead of the Guinness Six Nations match at the Orange Velodrome in Marseille, France. Picture date: Friday February 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU France. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.



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