France vs Ireland LIVE! Six Nations 2024 result, match stream and latest updates today

France vs Ireland LIVE!

Ireland delivered an ominous warning to their Six Nations rivals as they blew favourites France away on opening night in Marseille. The defending Grand Slam champions produced a devastating performance at the Stade Velodrome, running out 38-17 winners and easily wrapping up a bonus point as they ran in five tries in a fantastic display that already looks to position them well for another title.

Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhg Beirne, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher all went over for Ireland, who also got a score on his Six Nations debut from Munster wing Calvin Nash. That went along with 13 points from the boot of Jack Crowley, who, bar one regrettable early miss from the tee, made a fantastic start in his quest to fill the sizeable void left by the post-World Cup retirement of iconic Irish captain Johnny Sexton.

France, missing their own talisman and leader in Antoine Dupont, were certainly not helped by the dismissal of returning lock Paul Willemse in the first half following two yellow cards for head-high hits, with scores from Damian Penaud and Paul Gabrillagues keeping things interesting before the 14 men eventually ran out of steam. Follow France vs Ireland reaction on Six Nations opening night live below!

France vs Ireland highlights

  • TRY! Kelleher touches down for fifth Irish score

  • TRY! Sheehan goes over after thumping maul

  • TRY! Gabrillagues scores and O'Mahony shown yellow

  • TRY! Nash scores on Six Nations debut

  • TRY! Penaud hits back for 14-man Les Bleus

  • RED CARD! Willemse sent off for second yellow

  • TRY! Beirne goes over for second Ireland score

  • TRY! Gibson-Park extends early Irish lead

France 17-38 Ireland

21:58 , George Flood


A truly emphatic statement delivered by the defending champions on opening night!

The perfect start to their title defence after more World Cup heartache.


TRY! France 17-38 Ireland | Ronan Kelleher 78'

21:53 , George Flood

78 mins: The decision pays off!

It's another excellent rolling maul that drives through the tired French defence, with a little help from an unusual source in wing James Lowe.

Replacement hooker Ronan Kelleher is the man to dot down.

Another conversion for Jack Crowley makes it 13 points for the night.

What a statement this is from Ireland!

France 17-31 Ireland

21:52 , George Flood

77 mins: Very sloppy from Gael Fickou, who is pinged for offside after straying ahead of the kicker.

You'd think Ireland would take the game-sealing three points, but no, they kick for the corner again.

Relentless aggression from the defending Grand Slam champion.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:50 , George Flood

75 mins: Ireland are bleeding key seconds off the clock and patiently looking for the score that would certainly put this game to bed, if it isn't already.

Lovely play from Jack Conan and France look to have run out of steam inside the final few minutes.

Calvin Nash now limping for Ireland.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:47 , George Flood

73 mins: Full credit for bravery to Jack Crowley there as he's bulldozed by the hulking figure of Posolo Tuilagi as France rather run out of steam and ideas with ball in hand.

It's a scrum to Ireland with time ticking away fast.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:46 , George Flood

71 mins: Into the final 10 minutes in Marseille!

James Ryan and Conor Murray are on for Ireland, with Baille back off the bench for France with Wardi injured.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:43 , George Flood

70 mins: The ball is just played behind a frustrated Penaud with one French attack before his marvellous step and footwork injects some real pace into another, then slinging out a great pass out wide leading to a huge collision.

Lively France are asking real questions of this scrambling Irish defence now with ball in hand, but they try the little kick through from Ramos for Bielle-Biarrey and the momentum is lost.

Really frustrating.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:41 , George Flood

67 mins: What a huge turnover from 21-year-old Nolann Le Garrec, making his France debut now in place of Maxime Lucu at scrum-half.

Boudehent and Woki are also on for France.

Kelleher and Bealham into the Irish front row. Baird and Conan also on.

France 17-31 Ireland

21:39 , George Flood

64 mins: Forgot to mention in all the drama there that Posolo Tuilagi is now on for his France debut.

Aldegheri, Wardi, Marchand, Bielle-Biarrey and Le Garrec are also on.

TRY! France 17-31 Ireland | Dan Sheehan 62'

21:35 , George Flood

62 mins: And they get it!

Ireland safely claim their own lineout ball and the subsequent maul makes mincemeat of the French defence, hooker Sheehan coming out of the side to touch down.

Another really, really tough conversion from wide left is nailed by Jack Crowley.

Ireland's lead back out to 14 with less than 20 minutes to play.


France 17-24 Ireland

21:33 , George Flood

60 mins: Crunch time for the French defence as Ireland quickly drive their way back into the 22.

Some good carries and offloads once more as they crash their way swiftly to within five metres.

Offside against Damian Penaud. Jack Crowley is going to the corner here as Ireland dismiss the chance for three points.

They want the bonus-point try...

France 17-24 Ireland

21:30 , George Flood

58 mins: France have really got the bit between their teeth now and Ireland have to regroup.

This game is so superbly poised ahead of the final quarter.

TRY! France 17-24 Ireland | Paul Gabrillagues 53'

21:25 , George Flood

53 mins: A double blow for Ireland as the try is eventually given and O'Mahony is shown a yellow card for collapsing that maul.

Thomas Ramos hits a brilliant conversion and France are back within seven points, with it being 14 men vs 14 men for the next 10 minutes.

GAME ON! What a momentum-changer.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

France 10-24 Ireland

21:22 , George Flood

52 mins: Peter O'Mahony collapses the French maul and could be in trouble here.

France continue to roll forward and go over the line after a short-side scramble by lock Paul Gabrillagues, but was that grounded?

The on-field decision is try, so we'll go to the TMO replays.

There will have to be clear and obvious evidence to overturn this. It looks very close...

France 10-24 Ireland

21:19 , George Flood

50 mins: The French crowd are incensed after Jack Crowley gets a little nudge from Peato Mauvaka and makes contact with Gael Fickou in the air.

Nothing is given initially, but the infringement is eventually pointed out and France are able to kick for touch downfield.

TRY! France 10-24 Ireland | Calvin Nash 46'

21:13 , George Flood

46 mins: A try on his Six Nations debut for Calvin Nash!

Fine attacking play again from Ireland, with a strong carry from fellow tournament debutant Joe McCarthy in there.

Robbie Henshaw ends up playing a two-on-two perfectly, sucking in the tacklers and weaving towards the line before popping up to No8 Caelan Doris, who sends in Munster wing Nash in the left corner.

A difficult conversion is nailed by Jack Crowley. Ireland take back control and now lead by two converted tries.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

France 10-17 Ireland

21:12 , George Flood

45 mins: Ireland are perhaps fortunate to win a scrum penalty there with Andrew Porter's hand on the ground and they immediately set up camp inside the French 22...

France 10-17 Ireland

21:10 , George Flood

42 mins: Determined France continue their momentum from the end of the first half as they earn a maul penalty following the lineout.

It's a tricky kick from range out left for Thomas Ramos, whose effort drifts wide to the right.

France miss the chance to cut the Irish lead to just four points.

France 10-17 Ireland

21:07 , George Flood

Back underway at the Stade Velodrome!

No changes from either Fabien Galthie or opposite number Andy Farrell just yet.

Can 14-man France make a comeback here?

That second yellow for Willemse was upgraded to a straight red at half-time after a bunker review.

France 10-17 Ireland

21:03 , George Flood

Here is the biggest talking point of that engrossing first half, with Paul Willemse sent off for a second yellow card.

A really disappointing return to Test rugby for the Montpellier lock after he missed the home World Cup through injury.

France 10-17 Ireland

20:58 , George Flood

A very strong start from the aggressive and up-tempo Irish with tries from Jamison Gibson-Park and Tadhg Beirne.

France lose Paul Willemse to a red card, but are given hope by Damian Penaud just before the break.

Ireland will be slightly concerned that they have played so well but only lead by seven against 14 men.

A big second half ahead!

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

France 10-17 Ireland

20:52 , George Flood


TRY! France 10-17 Ireland | Damian Penaud 41'

20:51 , George Flood

41 mins: The 14 men strike with the clock in the red!

It's eventually a simple close-range finish for a diving Damian Penaud after quick ball from Maxime Lucu and an assist from Matthieu Jalibert as he becomes France's leading Six Nations try scorer.

The conversion from Thomas Ramos just sneaks inside the left-hand post.

France back within seven at half-time.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

France 3-17 Ireland

20:49 , George Flood

40 mins: Quick thinking from Peato Mauvaka as Ireland are whistled again but he's stopped just before the line following a quick tap penalty!

But France won't be denied on the stroke of half-time amid wave after wave of attack...

France 3-17 Ireland

20:48 , George Flood

37 mins: France get another scrum penalty and now have some monster carries to take them deep into the Irish 22 as half-time approaches.

They attack with a penalty advantage for offside, but Ireland's defence are holding firm... for now.

This would be a crucial time for France to score.

France 3-17 Ireland

20:45 , George Flood

35 mins: Despite their numerical disadvantage, France apply some attacking pressure and Peter O'Mahony gives away a penalty at the breakdown.

The French kick for touch in the corner, but they lose the lineout!

Paul Willemse's absence being keenly felt already there.

Red card - Paul Willemse (France)

20:40 , George Flood

32 mins: It's all going wrong for France here.

Willemse, having been shown a yellow card earlier for that hit on Andrew Porter, now flies in again as the second man into the tackle and hits Caelan Doris in the head.

So needless. It's ruled a second yellow and he's sent off.

An uphill battle for the French now.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

TRY! France 3-17 Ireland | Tadhg Beirne 30'

20:35 , George Flood

30 mins: Ireland score again! France are so open in defence tonight.

Great play from Jack Crowley, who shakes off that disappointment from the tee to punish Peato Mauvaka for charging out of the line.

The France hooker does Jonathan Danty no favours and lock Beirne powers through for the second Irish try of this first half so far.

Crowley makes the conversion.


PENALTY! France 3-10 Ireland | Thomas Ramos 27'

20:33 , George Flood

27 mins: Shortly after Jack Crowley's miss, Ireland commit two mistakes and give away a scrum penalty that is boomed over from long range by the accurate full-back Thomas Ramos.

Les Bleus are on the board.

France 0-10 Ireland

20:31 , George Flood

25 mins: It's another penalty to Ireland, with a straightforward attempt shanked wide by Jack Crowley.

He won't want to see that again. An easy three points left on the table. 10-0 it remains.

France 0-10 Ireland

20:30 , George Flood

22 mins: France are back up to a full complement now with Willemse returning but are still battling an Irish storm.

The Men in Green come whizzing down the blindside through Jack Crowley, with Gregory Alldritt doing vital defensive work to hold up Josh van der Flier on the line.

France 0-10 Ireland

20:27 , George Flood

19 mins: Ireland are almost in again after Tadhg Beirne charges down a Maxime Lucu kick following a maul!

Jack Crowley's pass to Bundee Aki is just deflected and another promising attack is stopped in its tracks.

But the Irish will have the put-in at the scrum...

TRY! France 0-10 Ireland | Jamison Gibson-Park 16'

20:22 , George Flood

16 mins: Ireland are in for the first try of the night!

Lovely attacking movement and speed from Ireland, with Bundee Aki central as he blasts through two tacklers and tees up scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park.

Jack Crowley duly adds the extras. Ireland rewarded for their strong start with an early 10-point lead in Marseille.

France just haven't got going yet.


France 0-3 Ireland

20:21 , George Flood

16 mins: Some kick tennis ensues, a long Ireland boot bobbling over the line.

We have the result of the bunker review - Willemse's yellow stays just that, mitigated by Porter dipping down.

A lucky man, perhaps.

France 0-3 Ireland

20:19 , George Flood

13 mins: Charles Ollivon safely claims French lineout ball after an infringement from Tadhg Beirne at the breakdown.

France try to set themselves up in attack for the first time tonight, but Ireland are being so aggressive in both defence and attack.

Maxime Lucu is slow to offload and Six Nations debutant Joe McCarthy goes low to drive back Gregory Alldritt.

France 0-3 Ireland

20:17 , George Flood

11 mins: Jack Crowley may have thought that Ireland had a penalty advantage there as they make their way back deep into the French 22 and he tries a little kick in behind that goes dead.

Damian Penaud then tries to catch Ireland sleeping with a quick restart.

Yellow card - Paul Willemse (France)

20:14 , George Flood

9 mins: It's an initial yellow for Willemse, who has no complaints.

As at the World Cup in the autumn, the controversial 'bunker' system is also in action during this Six Nations.

This could yet be upgraded to red. Porter is replaced by Cian Healy for now.

France 0-3 Ireland

20:12 , George Flood

9 mins: France charging forward on the counter-attack now, until Ireland skipper Peter O'Mahony earns a deserved penalty at the breakdown.

Ireland loosehead Andrew Porter has taken an early knock here after tackling Matthieu Jalibert and being nailed to the head by Paul Willemse.

This is trouble for the towering France lock...

PENALTY! France 0-3 Ireland | Jack Crowley 8'

20:10 , George Flood

8 mins: This has been a really impressive start from Ireland, with some huge carries inside that French 22 as they edge closer to the line.

Prop Cyril Baille and centre Gael Fickou are both whistled for offside and this time Ireland opt to take an easy three points, Jack Crowley slotting over from close range.

First blood to the Men in Green.

France 0-0 Ireland

20:08 , George Flood

5 mins: Ireland attack with a penalty advantage after James Lowe intercepts a loose Thomas Ramos pass, with France hooker Peato Mauvaka - retaining his starting place over Julien Marchand after a fine World Cup - then pinged for offside.

Ireland opt to kick for touch rather than take a shot at goal. Here comes the rolling maul.

France caught there trying to play out from deep inside their own half. They may pay the price...

France 0-0 Ireland

20:05 , George Flood

3 mins: An early chance for France off the turnover, with a nice break from Matthieu Jalibert and a fine pass off the ruck.

A promising attack ends with a crucial tackle from Hugo Keenan on Damian Penaud that puts the dangerous France wing into touch down the France right flank.

France 0-0 Ireland

20:03 , George Flood

1 min: An early exit into touch from Maxime Lucu as Ireland pile on the initial pressure from kick-off.

Dan Sheehan finds Tadhg Beirne from the first lineout and the Men in Green attempt to set up good attacking platform, before a kick is charged down and Lucu boots clear once more.

France vs Ireland

20:02 , George Flood

English referee Karl Dickson blows his whistle and Jack Crowley kicks to get the 2024 Six Nations officially underway!

Let's hope for another classic between these two rugby powerhouses...

France vs Ireland

19:57 , George Flood

Here come the teams at a sold-out Stade Velodrome, with the light show continuing amid bursts of pyrotechnic flame and smoke.

The crowd is whipped up into a frenzy as the familiar 'Allez Les Bleus' chant rings out around the 67,000-strong crowd.

Time for the national anthems, with La Marseillaise to come after Ireland's Call.

France vs Ireland

19:48 , George Flood

A very extravagant pre-match light show is now underway at the Stade Velodrome.

Kick-off is less than 15 minutes away, with the final preparations now complete.

The excitement is really building!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Galthie insists France at ease with Six Nations favourites tag

19:40 , George Flood

Fabien Galthie also insisted that France's renewed status as Six Nations favourites would not add extra pressure, while he is confident that a tough World Cup on home soil will not derail their progress.

"In four years, there hasn't been a game without a requirement to win," said Galthie.

"We've always heard the music in the background of requiring a win.

"There will be obstacles. The obstacles are the opponents. Before the World Cup, Ireland were world number one, now they're world number two.

"We're conscious of the run of games we have, South Africa, now Ireland, who also lost in the quarter-finals (to New Zealand).

"Defeats are part of the journey, as are obstacles. We like it, pressure, requirements, it's not a problem for us, we're here for that. We're solid."


Fabien Galthie urges France to adapt without Antoine Dupont

19:30 , George Flood

Antoine Dupont's decision to forego the entire Six Nations in order to realise a dream of playing rugby sevens for France at a home Olympics in the summer certainly came as a shock.

But head coach Fabien Galthie believes France have enough leaders and good enough competition at scrum-half to cope without arguably the best player on the planet over the next six weeks.

"It's the moment to acknowledge Antoine," he said.

"He chose an opening for the Olympics. It's good to breathe, get out of what is usual in whatever way possible.

"He leaves a space, an opportunity for other players to take his shirt. Maxime Lucu has been with us since the start of our (journey) pretty much. He's always been very good.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

"It's up to him to take charge of things, with his qualities, calmness, what he can do.

"We feel Nolann is ready to take on the role. I see this competitiveness in French rugby as a positive thing.

"Greg as a captain, leader, (full-back) Thomas Ramos and Maxime Lucu are part of them (the leadership team) now, they have to learn to play without Antoine.

"It will be interesting to see this different side of the French national team."

Posolo Tuilagi set for senior France debut tonight

19:14 , George Flood

You will notice a very familiar surname on the revised France replacements bench tonight.

With giant Lyon lock Romain Taofifenua falling ill, his place in the squad has been taken by Posolo Tuilagi - part of the Tuilagi rugby dynasty.

Posolo is the son of the legendary former Leicester and Samoa star Henry Tuilagi, who spent much of his career in France with Perpignan.

Posolo was born in Samoa but qualifies for France, where he has lived since the age of three, through residency, and also plays in the Top 14 with Perpignan.

The nephew of the likes of England's Manu Tuilagi plus Freddie, Alesana, Andy and Sanele, the 19-year-old is built in the family way and clocks in at a massive 6ft 4ins and some 23st.

With no Anthony Jelonch or Emmanuel Meafou due to injury either, Tuilagi will look to make his senior France debut tonight after helping their Under-20 side to World Cup glory in South Africa last year.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Farrell calls for Ireland to be 'courageous and brave' in Marseille challenge

18:58 , George Flood

Andy Farrell won't be around at the next Six Nations as he instead prepares the British and Irish Lions for their 2025 summer tour to Australia, where he will lock horns with ex-Ireland mentor Joe Schmidt.

He seems extra motivated therefore for Ireland to successfully defend their title this time around and is relishing the opportunity that awaits in tonight's colossal contest, calling on his Ireland stars to be brave and courageous and take the game to France in their own backyard.


"We all realise it's a huge game. It's mouth-watering, isn't it?" he said this week.

"It will be a great game to watch, there's no doubt about that and the stadium, the atmosphere, it being the first game of the Six Nations after a World Cup, if you can't get excited about that, you're in the wrong place.

"For us, it's just living up to our own expectations, we expect to perform on the big stage and it doesn't really get any bigger than this one.

"The exciting thing for me is are we brave enough, have we got enough courage to go and do what we said we're going to do and obviously we're playing against a world-class side.

"But if you want to be successful, if you want to try to be the best, then you've got to beat the best in places like this and the occasion doesn't get much bigger.

"We've got to relish those types of occasions and go after them."

Farrell backs 'confident' Crowley to shine as Sexton successor

18:38 , George Flood

There is plenty of pressure on the shoulders of Jack Crowley tonight as the 24-year-old Munster fly-half attempts to replace the great Johnny Sexton.

This huge showdown in Marseille will represent just his 10th senior Ireland cap, while bench cover Ciaran Frawley has just one.

However, Andy Farrell is fully confident that Crowley can step up to the plate in the biggest test of his young career so far.

"He's a confident kid, Jack," said Farrell.

"It's tough for young kids, especially with responsibilities like in his position but he feels very comfortable in being able to do that.

"How you run a week is pretty important and you're making sure that the rest of your team-mates feel that you're in control. He's obviously learned a lot from Johnny in that regard.

"But the only thing that matters is the performance, isn't it? Taking that preparation - that's been good, very good actually, in camp - and transferring it to a performance that we all want to see."

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Why France are playing in Marseille tonight

18:20 , George Flood

I know what some of you will be thinking - why are France playing in Marseille tonight, rather than in Paris?

Well, that is because the iconic Stade de France is currently undergoing renovation work ahead of this summer's Olympic Games.

Les Bleus have made the decision to play around the country during this Six Nations as a result, facing Ireland at the Stade Velodrome before hosting Italy in Lille in round three and then heading to Lyon to play England on Super Saturday.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Farrell banks on Ireland bench power to win 'war of attrition'

18:10 , George Flood

Andy Farrell will send a replacements' bench of heavyweight Ireland troops into a "war of attrition" in Marseille tonight, writes Nick Purewal.

Farrell has selected six forwards on the bench for the first time as Ireland boss, in the fifth year of his leadership.

The idea is to fight fire with fire given France's formidable pack of huge forwards and potent replacements bench too.

Leinster's 22-year-old lock Joe McCarthy will start in a bold move from Farrell, but one that also allows senior leader James Ryan to step off the bench for the bruising closing stages.

"We all know it is going to be a war of attrition," said Farrell, talking on his six-two replacements split selection.

"Set-piece is premium in any game against France. They're big men with the size of their pack and they are very accurate as well as far as their set-piece is concerned."

Read the article in full here


France vs Ireland prediction

17:50 , George Flood

Both of these heavyweights will be smarting after their respective World Cup quarter-final exits and eager to make a huge statement on Six Nations opening night.

Both have their fair share of injuries and have each lost a talismanic leader in the shape of Dupont and Sexton, but they have plenty of other experience and star quality capable of filling those large voids.

Last year's match was unforgettable, let's just hope this edition isn't coming too early in the schedule to follow suit.

Ireland to win, by less than five points.

France vs Ireland lineups

17:47 , George Flood

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

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, P Tuilagi, C Woki, P Boudehent, N Le Garrec, L Bielle-Biarrey

France team news

17:46 , George Flood

As for France, Maxime Lucu replaces Antoine Dupont at 9, linking up with Bordeaux half-back partner Matthieu Jalibert with Romain Ntamack still sidelined with the knee injury that forced him to miss the entire World Cup.

The uncapped Nolann Le Garrec covers Lucu on the bench.

Paul Willemse is back from injury and partners Paul Gabrillagues in the second row, while Yoram Moefana is preferred to young Louis Bielle-Biarrey on the wing.

Anthony Jelonch is a crucial miss for France for the whole Six Nations with a knee ligament injury, so Francois Cros comes in at flanker.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ireland team news

17:39 , George Flood

Ireland have handed Six Nations debuts to both Munster wing Calvin Nash and Leinster lock Joe McCarthy tonight, while Jack Crowley has the task of filling Johnny Sexton's huge boots at fly-half.

Robbie Henshaw joins Bundee Aki in the centres with Garry Ringrose out injured, with the likes of Mack Hansen, Jimmy O'Brien and Dave Kilcoyne among their other notable absentees.

McCarthy's selection alongside Tadhg Beirne in the second row means James Ryan is only on the bench, with no Iain Henderson in the matchday squad at all.

As mentioned, veteran flanker Peter O'Mahony has taken on captaincy duties from Sexton, with Ciaran Frawley and Conor Murray the only backs on the bench as Andy Farrell goes for a 6-2 split in favour of the forwards.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

How to watch France vs Ireland

17:34 , George Flood

TV channel: In the UK, France vs Ireland is being shown live and free-to-air on ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:15pm.

Live stream: A live stream can also be accessed for free online via the ITVX website and app.

Welcome to France vs Ireland LIVE coverage

17:30 , George Flood

It all starts here! The 2024 Six Nations officially gets underway in Marseille tonight - and what a game we have in store to kick us off.

Defending Grand Slam champions Ireland travel to face the France team that they successfully dethroned 12 months ago in a repeat of the match that has decided this competition over the last two years.

Les Bleus are generally considered as the favourites to regain their title over the next six thrilling weeks, but the sternest of tests awaits at the Stade Velodrome this evening.

Both sides are having to readjust without their best player and talismanic leader as they each try to banish memories of disappointing World Cup quarter-final exits in the autumn, with Antoine Dupont missing the entire Six Nations for France as he prepares to play rugby sevens at the Paris Olympics in the summer and Johnny Sexton now retired.

There are new leaders on the pitch in the shape of Gregory Alldritt and Peter O'Mahony, while for some including Ireland duo Calvin Nash and Joe McCarthy it's a very first taste of arguably the greatest competition that rugby has to offer.

Kick-off in tonight's blockbuster is at 8pm GMT, so stay tuned for live minute-by-minute updates of the game after all the latest team news, lineups and views from both camps.

You won't want to miss this!

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)