France, like England are suffering from inconsistency and have had an indifferent time of it since the Rugby World cup in 2007. They had high hopes in 2009 but they went onto lose twice including a heavy defeat at Twickenam which meant they finished 3rd in the Championship. The French are always dangerous and will be a big threat in 2010.
Rugby was introduced to France in 1872 by the British, and on New Year's Day 1906 the national side played its first Test match — against New Zealand in Paris. France played sporadically against the British Home Nations until they joined them to form a Five Nations tournament in 1910. France also competed in the rugby competitions at early Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in 1900 and two silver medals in the 1920s. France came of age during the 1950s and 1960s, and won their first Five Nations title outright in 1959. They won their first Grand Slam in 1968.
The Six Nations Championship held every year in February and March is Ireland's only annual tournament. It is contested against England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Ireland was a member of the inaugural Home Nations in 1883 - with France and Italy joining later to form the Five and Six Nations respectively. Ireland won their first championship in 1894, winning the Triple Crown also. Ireland's first Grand Slam occurred in the 1948 season and their second in the 2009 season. In total Ireland have been champions on eleven occasions.
Ireland are the current Grand Slam title holders, for the first time since 1948, having won the competition in 2009 by beating all other teams, and winning the Triple Crown by beating England, Scotland and Wales.
Ireland currently holds the Triple Crown after beating Wales 17–15 at the Millennium Stadium on 21 March 2009.
Ireland's highest ever position in the IRB World Rankings is third which they reached in 2003 and 2006. They currently lie in fourth position as of 30 November 2009.
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