Believe it or not, the Irish front row is almost a stone heavier (per man) than the French 5 years ago

Believe it or not, the Irish front row is almost a stone heavier (per man) than the French

We live in strange, oversized times

A run-down of the stat-sheets for both Ireland and France will tell you that the men in green have almost a stone a man on their front-row counterparts. The Irish front row [McGrath-Best-Ross] weigh in at 259kg while the French triumvirate of Alexandre Menini, Guilhem Guirado and Rabah Slimani tip the scales at 240kg.

Fortunately for France, and their coach Philippe Saint-André, their front row cavalry is humongous.

Uini Antonio, who we have already marvelled about, and Vincent Debaty may feature, against Ireland, on Saturday.

Respectively, they weigh 155kg (24-stone, six pounds) and 134kg (21-stone). If Saint André gets a notion, Debaty may start at the Aviva with Antonio primed on the bench.

Ireland tight-head Marty Moore told us: 'I think Debaty coming back brings a lot to their front row. He's a very aggressive player. Very aggressive in the set-piece and I think he will only add to the side, coming into it.

'I can't speak for Saint André (if Debaty will start), but he generally does well for France, coming off the bench, and makes a big impact. Whatever way it comes, I'm sure I'll be squatting down against him at some stage.'

Marty Moore and Dave Kearney 10/2/2015

Moore - all 123kg of him - is delighted to finally teamed up with some heavy-hitters. With his squat, powerful physique, Moore, from an early age, was destined for the front row.

He admits he was often the biggest guy in the Castleknock College pack during his schools days and recalls tough encounters with the lads from Methodist College.

Now that he's in pro sport, as he likes to call it, Moore has some heavy-hitters for company. Moore believes the days of 80-minute props are at an end and declares he is happy to take do a 50/30-minute (or vice-versa) job for Ireland. As for France, the prop warns of their multiple dangers.

'We know we have to be so disciplined, as a collective,' he says. 'We're going to have to work very hard.... They have a lot of dangerous players that can open up holes, as they did against the Scots. They're on the back-foot when, all of a sudden, Mathieu Bastareaud or Wesley Fofana cuts back and Yoann Huget is off down the wing.

'They are a team that, even when they are on the back foot, you have to keep pressing forward. You can't ease off at any stage.'

How both sides stack up

France v Australia - International Friendly

FORWARDS: Ireland [919kg], France [898kg]

BACKS: Ireland [675kg], France [669kg]

Outside centres: Jared Payne [95kg], Mathieu Bastareaud [120kg]

Heaviest player: Ireland [Jack McGrath - 122kg], France [Yoann Maestri 121kg]