Despite France having recorded convincing victories in each of their last two meetings with Ireland, Les Bleus coach Bernard Laporte is not holding out hope for a repeat showing when they face Eddie O'Sullivan's Grand Slam-chasing outfit in Dublin this weekend.
Laporte's side saw off the Irish 43-21 in the quarter-finals of the 2003 World Cup and then followed that up with a 35-17 win in Paris on the way to winning the RBS 6 Nations last year.
However, the French now look set to surrender that title after suffering a 24-18 home defeat to Wales in their last outing.
That has left Ireland and the Welsh as the only teams with 100% winning records and their meeting at the Millennium Stadium in the final round of matches on March 19 seems certain to decide which of them finishes on top of the pile.
"Ireland are interesting for France, they play well and if they beat France on Saturday, they could do the Grand Slam," Laporte said at Tuesday's squad announcement at Marcoussis, near Paris.
"We go to Ireland to win but the fight will be hard. Eighteen months ago, we beat Ireland (in the World Cup) but I do not think France can do the same thing on Saturday.
"Eighty percent of the Ireland team has not changed since the last World Cup, For France, it is different. We need time, it is like a puzzle as I used to say."