Thursday 26 January 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Dan Sheridan/INPHO The 2010 vintage of Bastareaud was almost unstoppable.
# big bastareaud
It's been five years since the Toulon Tank took on BOD - and made beating him look easy
The power of Mathieu Bastareaud was felt by O’Driscoll at the Stade de France in 2010.

AROUND THIS TIME five years ago Ireland went into the second week of the Six Nations preparing to face France. Just like this year, they had beaten Italy in round one and also like this year, they were defending the Six Nations title.

Not everything was the same though – Ireland were defending a Grand Slam while France were the home side.

The first week of the 2010 tournament had also seen a certain centre make his Six Nations debut.

He is known by many nicknames – the Baby Rhino, the Toulon Tank – but most fans usually go with Mathieu Bastareaud.

Bastareaud marked his debut with two tries at Murrayfield so there were big things expected of him against Ireland – and he did not disappoint.

After Gordon D’Arcy was cruely denied an early try due to a rogue bounce of the ball under the posts (it really will go anywhere) France took over. They were already 17-3 ahead when Bastareaud collected a long pass with Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll in his face.

Bastareaud simply fended off BOD with his right hand and threw a lovely side-door offload to Clement Poitrenaud with his left.

By now we have seen Bastareaud do it 100 times but it was a little jarring to see O’Driscoll swatted aside like that at the time.


That game is very underrated in terms of crushing Irish losses. Ireland were coming off a Grand Slam, an unbeaten autumn series and the bookies had it as a scratch game.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

People were legitimately talking about back-to-back Grand Slams.

Ireland lost by 23.

RBS 6 Nations / YouTube

Luckily for Ireland, Joe Schmidt has picked arguably the most talented matchday squad ever fielded by the national team.

It would be a bit of a shock were they to lose by 23 again.

‘We eat popcorn at the cinema, they eat meat’ – An Irish S&C coach on his time with The Stormers

After another boxing debacle, Sonny Bill will finally be back to being Sonny Bill on Saturday