Ireland 26 France 14: match report and betting pointers
Ireland finally find their feet to send France packing
T: Best, Sexton, Conan, Earls; C: Sexton 3
T: Huget, Chat; C: Serin
2-11 Ireland, 13-2 France, 40 draw (handicap 13-14 points)
Ireland made a blistering start, scoring their first try after just two minutes, and dominated territory and possession. A succession of penalties were kicked to the corner keeping France penned in their own 22. On the few occasions Les Bleus got their hands on the ball they were either turned over or were guilty of handling errors. The first-half stats showed Ireland had enjoyed an astonishing 89 per cent of the territory.
The hosts picked up where they left off with an try from Keith Earls 15 minutes in bringing up the bonus point. France had the last word with two tries in the final three minutes to stay within the 14-point handicap but had shown pretty much nothing until that point.
All through the championship it has been noted that Ireland had failed to live up to the standards they set in 2018 - this was the performance that finally lived up to their promise. The structure and intensity were their and Ireland's relentless attack in the first half was hugely impressive.
France, after a promising show against Scotland at home last time out, looked to have taken a step back to their hapless Twickenham showing and they face another away assignment in the final round, against Italy.
Ireland: R Kearney; K Earls, G Ringrose, B Aki, J Stockdale; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, T Furlong; I Henderson, James Ryan; P O'Mahony, J van der Flier, CJ Stander; replacements: N Scannell, D Kilcoyne, John Ryan, U Dillane, J Conan, J Cooney, J Carty, J Larmour.
France: T Ramos; D Penaud, M Bastareaud, G Fickou, Y Huget; R Ntamack, A Dupont; J Poirot, G Guirado, D Bamba, S Vahaamahina, F Lambey, W Lauret, A Iturria, L Picamoles. Replacements: C Chat, E Falgoux, D Aldegheri, P Willemse, G Alldritt, B Serin, A Belleau, M Medard.
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