Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has dismissed suggestions next weekend’s mouthwatering Guinness Six Nations showdown with France will be a Grand Slam decider.
Andy Farrell’s men ultimately had to settle for second spot in the 2022 championship as a round-two defeat by the all-conquering French in Paris proved pivotal.
The two nations meet at the same stage in this year’s competition, with the Irish having underlined their status as the world’s top-ranked side by impressively blowing away Wales on the opening weekend before Fabien Galthie’s defending champions scraped past Italy.
Talk of the title is likely to dominate the build-up to the Dublin fixture but Ringrose does not believe the victors are guaranteed to go on and complete a tournament clean sweep.
“I don’t think so, no,” said the 28-year-old. “In my experience of Six Nations, everyone has the ability to beat everyone. Everyone is vulnerable to losing to everyone.
“(We will take it) one week at a time, raise our game against a team that we lost to last year in Paris and the year before in the Aviva (Stadium). That will be the focus.”
France are the only major nation yet to suffer defeat against Ireland during the Farrell era.
- February 4: Wales 10-34 IRELAND
- February 11: IRELAND v France
- February 25: Italy v IRELAND
- March 12: Scotland v IRELAND
- March 18: IRELAND v England
Les Bleus have twice beaten the Irish at Stade de France in that time – 35-27 in 2020 and 30-24 last year – in addition to being the sole visiting side to win at the Aviva Stadium since the last World Cup, a 15-13 success in 2021.
Ireland’s 34-10 victory over Wales on Saturday was built on a rapid start which included three tries in the opening 20 minutes.
The Irish were on the receiving end of a blistering beginning during last year’s crucial loss in the French capital as Antoine Dupont crossed inside two minutes.
Ringrose is determined to avoid a sense of deja vu.
“Reflecting on the start of the game last year, they started unbelievably well with the quick line-out, I think it was Dupont,” said Leinster player Ringrose.
“They just caught us on the hop. They broke us on the counter-attack.
“The start for us (next week) would be massive to hold them out with the threat they pose, pretty much from anywhere, broken play or set-piece that they have up front with their forwards.
“We will have to be really dialled on to not let them through us with their power game, as well as being able to defend the serious try scorers that they have on the edge out wide.”