Ireland’s biggest test in this World Cup so far comes in the form of France. Our rugby correspondent Vaughan Hickey Horgan O’Donnell Cumisky gives you the low down:
Team nicknames: The Baguette Eaters, Garlic Tossers, Les Blew A Decent Lead
Biggest club names: Racing Money, The Je Joue Au Rugbys, The Parisian Cheese Smellers RFC
Strengths: In enviable physical condition, a gloriously entertaining rugby tradition, ample supply of alluring women dispatched within the stadium to beguile and distract Irish fans and players alike.
Weaknesses: World wars, a comically over the top accent that just begs to be imitated in a derogatory fashion, such is their mercurial nature they may decide to give up 80 point lead for no particular reason, and overtly obtuse arthouse film offerings that we’re forced to pretend to understand.
Star Player: Mathieu Bastareaud
Special Moves: Has the strength of seven Irish-sized men, thanks to being built in a specially designed rugby laboratory by insane scientists. Will make orphans of several Irish children today by mowing down players. Name can be shortened to ‘Bastard’ by panicked Irish fans at any time, but such utterances only make him stronger.
WWN score prediction: 19-15 to Ireland
What to look out for: French players will blatantly handle to ball with their hands, as a way to goad the Irish players over Thierry Henry’s famous handball. TV3 ad breaks will be extended by 12 minutes each, meaning fans will miss out much of the coverage of the actual match.