6 Nations 2023 – The annoying question: will Ireland be more impressive in 2023 than France in 2022?

6 NATIONS 2023 – Ireland won the 6 Nations Tournament 2023 by beating England (29-16) this Saturday. A success that allows the Irish to achieve the grand slam, one year after that of the XV of France. But which of these two historic teams was the most impressive?

Untouchable France has bequeathed its crown to overwhelming Ireland. A year after the Blues’ majestic grand slam, at the end of a tournament controlled from start to finish, it was Ireland that wrote its history and in turn won every match of the competition. Especially in 2023, Andy Farrell’s men have even had the luxury of breaking the record for the number of points scored in the standings, in the history of the 6 Nations Tournament. If everyone now agrees that the generations of France 2022 and Ireland 2023 are among the best teams in history, it now makes sense, one year before the 2023 World Cup, to compare these two teams. France 2023 or Ireland 2023: which is more impressive?

More serene Irish people

To answer this question, there is one factor that is essential: the closeness between these two generations, which have largely unfolded from one year to the next. In 2022, this match between French and Irish was already considered a final of the Tournament. And the Irish had caused huge problems for the Blues at the Stade de France. However, Clover’s XV had presented itself without his master to play, Jonathan Sexton. This season Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Sheehan or even Tadhg Furlong were completely amputated by the Celts who received the French… And yet they managed to win with style. To compare the two tournaments more generally, we should also mention the statistics.

Gabin Villière against Ireland in the 2022 6 Nations
Icon Sport – Icon Sport

The most notable of these remains the record held by the XV of Clover in 2023. Having five wins in their pocket, four of them bonuses, Ireland amassed 24 points on the ground during this tournament. A total to which must be added the three points traditionally offered to the country that manages to achieve the grand slam. The Irish therefore finished with 27 points on the clock and could only have completed their total by looking for an offensive bonus in Scotland. Last season, France had “only” 25 points in their pocket.

Dupont – van der Flier: the battle for the best

This statistic betrays something. In 2022, the French fought to bag the grand slam, for example by grabbing success on the lawn of Wales or against Ireland. In 2023, Ireland never backed down, coolly pushing aside France and all its other opponents to secure victory of the tournament. A common point also connects the generation France 2022 and Ireland 2023: they both have the best players in the world. Josh van der Flier had succeeded Antoine Dupont in the same way that Ireland now succeeds France.

6 Nations 2023 - Antoine Dupont wrestles Josh van der Flier

6 Nations 2023 – Antoine Dupont wrestles Josh van der Flier
SUSA / Icon Sport – SUSA / Icon Sport

At this point it seems that the French impressed more than his opponent during his coronation year, which was simply a dictatorship as long as the level of the Toulousain was high. But from a more collective perspective, it looks like the two teams are evenly matched. It would then be necessary to watch the matches of these two generations outside the tournament to realize that the Irish have achieved the feat of winning twice in New Zealand, while France in turn beat all the countries of the south in Saint Denis.

So, hot, it is still difficult to compare these two golden generations of world rugby. But Fabien Galthié’s France and Andy Farrell’s Ireland now each have a grand slam to their name. And if the difference between the two was played at the next World Cup? I’ll see you in September.

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