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Lowe verdict on 'back three that would put sh***ers up most teams'

By PA
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Ireland wing James Lowe is braced for a different French beast when Fabien Galthie’s world-class side visit Dublin for a mouthwatering Guinness Six Nations showdown. While the Irish began the championship with a thumping 34-10 win in Wales, reigning Grand Slam champions France started in less convincing fashion with a stuttering 29-24 success away to Italy.

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Saturday’s crunch clash at the Aviva Stadium is already being billed as a title decider as the world’s top two sides collide. Lowe, who scored a superb breakaway try in Cardiff, hopes to help in-form Ireland register a record 13th successive home win and is adamant Les Bleus will be far better than their underwhelming display in Rome.

“I know they would be disappointed with their performance against Italy, and credit to Italy, they fronted up physically,” said the Leinster player. “That first half was very messy. Both sides would say that and then the second half was a proper Test match.

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Andy Farrell commends Ireland for a brilliant start to beat Wales in the Six Nations

Video Spacer

Andy Farrell commends Ireland for a brilliant start to beat Wales in the Six Nations

“But we know it’s a different French beast (this week). The France that we know is going to turn up and we are prepping for that and can’t wait for the opportunity to test ourselves against the team that won the Grand Slam last year.

“They are a world-class side, they have shown it for a good couple of years. Their nine-10 combo [Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack] is pretty scary, their back rowers are world-class, a midfield that is very dangerous and a back three that would put the sh***ers up most teams. Individually they have got some pretty good firepower, so hopefully they don’t string it all together. It’s a whole new beast around the corner.”

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Ireland raced out of the blocks at the Principality Stadium to underline their status as the world’s top-ranked team. Caelan Doris, James Ryan and Lowe crossed inside the opening 20 minutes before Josh van der Flier’s second-half score fatally broke Welsh resistance. France, who are the only visiting side to win in Dublin during the tenure of head coach Andy Farrell, were far less convincing than expected the following day at Stadio Olimpico yet still found a way to scrape their 14th consecutive victory.

Lowe insists it is too early in the tournament to regard the titanic weekend tussle as a Grand Slam decider but believes Ireland have improved collectively since last year’s narrow 30-24 loss at Stade de France. “It’s the second game of a Six Nations, I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” said the 30-year-old.

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“And I’m sure they will be saying the same things. It’s the old cliche, one game at a time, and we will take it like that. I didn’t know that he [Farrell] hadn’t beaten France; I haven’t beaten France yet so I wouldn’t mind having a go at them as well.

“Last year away from home, we probably gave them a few too many easy points in the first half, fought back in the second but we weren’t quite there. We re a different team now compared to where we were 12 months ago and we’re going to go out there and give it a good crack. The French are physical. It would be silly to say they are not bigger than us. We think we’re fitter.”

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