Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has dismissed any Grand Slam decider talk ahead of the Six Nations showdown with France this weekend.
France head to the Aviva Stadium off the back of a narrow 29-24 win over Italy, while Ireland claimed their first victory over Wales in Cardiff in 10 years, defeating Warren Gatland’s side 34-10.
Round Two of the Six Nations sees the two favourites face off in what is being billed as a Grand Slam decider, with the result between the two sides in Paris in 2022 ultimately deciding the Championship as France secured the win and went on to win their remaining three matches.
‘Everyone is vulnerable’
Ringrose, though, does not believe that the victors in Dublin this weekend are guaranteed to win their remaining three games and complete the Grand Slam.
“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.”
Andy Farrell has steered Ireland to the top of the world rankings since taking over from Joe Schmidt after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and while they created history under his tutelage, France are the only team they are yet to beat.
Fabien Galthie’s side have beaten Ireland twice at the Stade de France (35-27 and 30-24) and tasted success at the Aviva Stadium in 2021 (15-13).
After a fast start against Wales in Round One, Ringrose is keen to avoid a sense of deja vu to last year’s Six Nations when Ireland were on the wrong end of a blistering start when Antoine Dupont scored inside the first two minutes.
“Reflecting on the start of the game last year, they started unbelievably well with the quick line-out; I think it was Dupont,” said 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.”