In addition to the mercurial Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland are lucky enough to have great strength in depth throughout their squad. So for every Ronan O’Gara, Gordan D'Arcy, Geordan Murphy and Peter Stringer, there’s a capable and highly motivated replacement straining at the leash – an invaluable asset come Rugby World Cup 2007. While retaining the powerful forward play that has seen Ireland climb up the world rankings, and clinch the Triple Crown in 2006, coach Eddie O’Sullivan has been successfully tinkering with tactics – exchanging the kicking game for a more attacking style of running rugby, something this current Ireland team seem born for. While O’Sullivan admits his team has yet to strike the perfect balance, the thought of a well-drilled attacking Ireland team taking on the French at their own game in Paris at Rugby World Cup 2007 is a mouth-watering proposition.
Bordeaux, in south-west France, is a rugby hotbed and often referred to as ‘l'Ovalie’, the Land of the Oval Ball. The city itself has excellent museums, including the renowned Museum of Fine Arts, many beaches and wines that are cherished the world over. Take a stroll through the ‘golden triangle’ in historic Old Bordeaux, watch an opera at the 18th century Grand Théâtre, have a flutter at Casino de Bordeaux, or visit the lively bars at the place de la Victoire, place St-Pierre, place du Parlement, place Camille Jullian, and place Gambetta. Head for the noisy Connemara Irish Pub for Guinness and Irish music, or stay up all night in the quai du Paladate district where restaurants, bars, and discos remain open until the small hours. Bordeaux’s Chaban-Delmas Stadium (capacity 34,462), inspired by the neoclassical school, is something of a rarity amongst sporting venues, as it’s listed as one of France’s national monuments.
Paris, The City of Light, has a very special atmosphere all of its own, and the constant capacity to surprise and delight even the most well-travelled of visitors. Discover for yourself elegant parks, quaint fountains and tree-lined boulevards; sample the cafés and restaurants along the splendid Champs Elysées; follow the sound of jazz music to the lively Latin Quarter; or wander through the cobbled streets of old Montmartre. Throughout Paris you’ll find excellent restaurants, relaxing bars and a colourful nightlife, as well as world famous attractions such as the mighty Eiffel Tower, majestic Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and La Place de la Concorde – Paris's largest square. Situated on the former hunting grounds of French princes and holding up to 50,000 spectators, the Parc de Princes was the home of French international rugby until 1997 and remains one of the world’s best-loved stadiums.