Rewind to 14 years ago and it was O'Driscoll who stole the headlines with a hat-trick that announced the arrival of a special talent and ended a run of defeats against Les Bleus that had extended since their 1972 triumph at Stade Olympique-du-Manoir.
Yet while O'Driscoll went from strength to strength Ireland's failure in France has continued with the victory in 2000 still the sole success in the past 42 years.
Should head coach Joe Schmidt buck the trend on Super Saturday then an RBS 6 Nations title in his first Championship in charge surely awaits.
With a far greater points-difference to their name than England, who are also on six points and play Italy early on Saturday, victory in Paris would leave the Red Rose having needed to have won by a mammoth margin.
To achieve his aim Schmidt has made just one change to the XV who beat Italy, fit-again Peter O'Mahony replacing Iain Henderson while in the replacements the more versatileIan Madigan replaces Paddy Jackson.
"Sometimes you make those replacements because of injury and sometimes to change up what you're doing," Schmidt said.
"I feel confident Ian's the right man to do those two things for us within the current squad.
"He played through the autumn and he has trained with us for the full eight weeks throughout this tournament.
"If you can't show confidence in a player then perhaps you've got to go outside the squad, and that's not ideal either.
"Ian is a very good player and he does give us coverage through the midfield and at full-back.
"It's been a pretty combative campaign - we just started to creak a little bit, so we just needed the coverage.
"In England we got a couple of niggles, and we didn't have as broad a coverage on the bench as we would have liked.
"If Johnny had been injured, Paddy would have started.
"But it's Ian's ability to cover 10, centre and 15.
"He's a reasonably confident young man. He's a massively hard-working young man as well.
"We're in a really luxurious position. It was always a concern when Ronan O'Gara retired, but then Johnny replaced him.
"And now we've got two emerging 10s behind him growing into the role."
While Ireland appear to have played it relatively safe, France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has mixed it up, dropping his fly-half and handing teenager Gael Fickou a start in the centres.
Saint-Andre has installed Remi Tales at 10 in place of Jules Plisson with Brice Mach, Sebastien Vahaamahina and Maxime Mermoz also missing out to accommodate hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, Louis Picamoles and Fickou.
"(Fickou) is in form, he has speed," said Saint-Andre. "We need to see his talent expressed from the start with a true challenge alongside Mathieu Bastaraud and against two great Ireland centres (O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy). We have confidence in him.
"It's a logical step with relation to the squad and the work he has done. Attacking-wise, he can bring us very interesting solutions because of his speed, his youth and his audacity.
"This isn't a punishment for Jules, but more of a strategic decision for the Ireland match."