Six Nations: Ireland 22-25 France as it happened
So near, yet so far. Ireland were within inches of nicking a win at the death, but yet another error let us down. In truth, however, a win would not have been deserved. Apart from periods at the start and at the end of the first half and a patch when Heaslip went over in the second half, France were the better side by a stretch. Far better performance from Ireland, but not quite enough.
France, on the other hand, looked excellent at times and should go on to win the tournament. Their bench is frightening and if Lievremont can use his squad efficiently, they have to be favourites. Cracking game at the Aviva, but a disappointing result. That’s all from me for today, thanks for tuning in.
Time is up and France have a scrum in their own 22′ to see it out and secure the win.
Leo Cullen comes on for Paul O’Connell to play the last five seconds. What’s the point?
What a chance for Ireland, but it’s spilled by Sean Cronin within feet of the French line. What a pity.
Ireland have it back, time for one last throw of the dice.
Ireland can’t get near the ball. France camped in the Ireland half and comfortably retaining possession.
France happy to go through the phases and eat up the clock. Yachvili dictating things for France.
Sean Cronin comes on for Rory Best in the Irish front row.
Missed opportunity as Wallace coughs up the lineout at the tail, Ireland regain possession, but Ireland knock forward once more and France have possession on halfway. Clock stopped with just under five minutes remaining.
Penalty Ireland and O’Gara gives Ireland a lineout on the French 22′.
Yannick Jauzion comes on for Damien Traille in the centre as the French continue to empty their quite formidable bench. Eoin Reddan came on for Tomas O’Leary immediately after Heaslip’s try.
Brian O’Driscoll is groggy after a thunderous hit on Aurelien Rougerie. There’s no way he’s going off though, he’ll be badly needed for the last eight minutes.
God, Ireland needed that, but France must be given credit for some magnificent defence. They forced Ireland back time and time again and were unfortunate that O’Gara’s attempted kick through ended up in an Irish pair of hands. Great patience shown by Ireland but have they got what it takes to complete the comeback?
O’Gara lands a brilliant conversion from the touchline…just… and Ireland are back to within three points.
TRY IRELAND (HEASLIP)
Jamie Heaslip touches down for Ireland eventually, but once again, Dave Pearson goes to the TMO.
Ireland pounding the French try line…
O’Gara’s first kick pins France into their own 22′ and the crowd in the Aviva start to roar on the home side.
A little under 20 minutes for Ireland to turn this one around.
Ronan O’Gara comes on for Jonny Sexton as Yachvili kicks the penalty and France go ten points in front.
Rory Best gives away a penalty from the resultant lineout and Dave Pearson issues Brian O’Driscoll a warning. A yellow card can’t be too far away.
Another penalty given away by Ireland. Medard hammers it into the Ireland 22′ and France have a good attacking platform once more.
Mercifully he misses it, France’s first missed kick today and Ireland remain within seven.
Tom Court comes on for Cian Healy and is immediately penalised. Yachvili with a chance to extend France’s lead.
Fantastic move from France sees Medard go over the line after Traille and Rougerie were heavily involved in the build up. Gordon D’Arcy was steamrolled in the tackle by Traille and Rougerie and Medard did the rest. Yachvili adds the extras. Ireland are seven behind and haven’t gone going in the second half.
TRY FRANCE (MEDARD)
Sebastien Chabal prepares to come on to a chorus of boos from the Aviva audience. Dimitri Yachvili, meanwhile, comes on for Morgan Parra, who has been brilliant so far.
Ireland have a scrum inside the French 22 after a knock on. Great chance to regain the lead again. Unfortunately, Earls is forced out of touch after receiving the ball in very little space on the left wing.
Clerc comes on for Poitrenaud, Medard will now go to full back.
Marconnet comes on for Domingo, while Ireland’s bete noire, Vincent Clerc prepares to enter the fray.
It’s there and France are level ten minutes into the second half.
Ireland fail to release the ball in the tackle and Parra has a chance to level the scores. Given his form so far today, this one should go over.
Another Irish attack foiled by a knock on, Sean O’Brien this time. France having the better of the possession so Ireland have to start making an impact when they have the ball.
Trinh-Duc attempts a drop-goal that is blocked down and drops right in front of the Irish posts. There are so many knock ons after, it’s hard to judge who should get the put in to the scrum, but thankfully it goes Ireland’s way.
Luke Fitzgerald immediately puts Ireland on the back foot with a kick to touch that goes out on the full. France have a lineout just outside Ireland’s 22′ as a result.
We’re back underway at the Aviva.
Good start and finish to the half from Ireland, but France were well in control in between. Declan Kidney will be glad at not having conceded a try, but the giving away of silly penalties has to stop.
Tries were well taken and although the error count is far less than it was last week, plenty of Irish moves have been foiled by dropped balls and needless knock-ons. Can’t help the feeling that there’s at least one if not a couple of tries in France, so it will take a mighty defensive effort to keep them out. Plenty of rugby left in this one, hold on to your hats.
Jonny Sexton misses the conversion, but has been receiving treatment on and off for the last ten minutes which can’t have helped. He’ll be assessed at half-time, but he’s been struggling for the last while.
Try given and it gives much-needed relief to Ireland. After a lovely and probably pre-rehearsed lineout move, numerous players went close before O’Leary drove over from close range. Ireland three points to the good, but it has to be said, it’s barely deserved.
TRY IRELAND (O’LEARY)
Tomas O’Leary crosses the line, but referee Dave Pearson is not convinced. TMO will decide whether or not Ireland have five points. The replays look good.
France now completely in control after a shaky start. Ireland will do well to go in at half time only two points in arrears.
Poitrenaud goes so close for France after a scintillating backline move. The full back chips over the head of Earls and was possibly impeded while he tried to collect, but the ball goes into touch and Ireland win the ball from the lineout and eventually win a penalty which will give them a lineout on halfway.
From just over halfway, Parra kicks it with ease and France take the lead for the first time.
Yet another penalty for France, Donncha O’Callaghan the guilty party for not rolling away. Ireland need to stop giving Parra opportunities to work the scoreboard.
Errors starting to spoil Ireland’s performance. Paul O’Connell the latest man to knock the ball on in midfield.
10-9 and only 20 minutes gone…suddenly my 19-17 prediction is looking a little off the mark.
It’s there again and France are back to within a point.
Penalty France again and after a shaky start, they’re starting to build momentum. Tricky kick for Parra, but he’s been very accurate so far.
Brian O’Driscoll was fuming with referee Dave Pearson for not dealing with an off the ball incident that we have yet to be made aware of. France on the attack again and looking dangerous…
Another fine kick by Parra and it’s back to a four point margin once more.
Great turnover by Ireland is ruined by a bad pass from Sexton which forces McFadden back and the winger concedes a penalty for not releasing. Parra with a chance for another three points.
Super kick by Sexton straight down the middle. Ireland seven points ahead once more.
Good Irish scrum gives Ireland a penalty and Jonny Sexton a quite difficult chance to restore Ireland’s seven point advantage.
The Sexton loop that Leinster have been using all season has been very much in evidence so far. Unfortunately on this occasion, McFadden spills a good opportunity on halfway.
The scrum half draws it in with a scrappy kick and France reduce the gap to four.
Penalty France. David Wallace fails to release the tackler after multiple phases from the visitors and Parra has a chance to start a French comeback.
Traille fails to kick the restart ten metres. France are rocking.
Sexton adds the extras with little difficulty and Ireland are seven points to the good.
France attempt to counter attack in their own 22′ and the ball is spilled by Poitrenaud. Ireland go through the phases and McFadden drives over from close range for his first international try. Brilliant from Ireland and just rewards for a magnificent start.
TRY IRELAND (MCFADDEN)
Brilliant start from Ireland early on, which is unfortunately spoiled by a slightly forward pass by D’Arcy to Fitzgerald close to the line. Really encouraging stuff and the Aviva is buzzing. More of the same for the next 77 minutes please.
Ireland playing right to left in the first half and from the kick-off, Ireland get an attacking lineout on the French ten metre line.
O’Leary and Heaslip have overcome fitness doubts and will start. Anthems over, we’re nearly ready to go.
The French players belt out La Marseillaise, which surely has no equal as an anthem. Inspirational stuff!
France on the pitch and Ireland on their way out the tunnel now, excitement beginning to build, ten minutes to go until kick-off.
Hook: All logic points to a France win.
Pope: All logic points to a France win, but I think Ireland will do it.
O’Shea: Incredibly tight but I think France will win.
The pundits go for France 2-1, but when did we ever listen to them?
Absent friends Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney have both been wishing their teammates luck via Twitter.
Aviva stadium looking impressive, would love to be in Dublin! Good luck to the boys!!!, says Tommy, while Rob says Great buzz in the Aviva, the boys look very excited!
Rob and Tommy seem to be optimistic, more of that needed from the Irish support. Come on Ireland!
Tomas O’Leary has undergone a late fitness test but he seems to be fit to start. Still a lot of empty spaces in the Aviva Stadium, but there’s a good 20 minutes to go yet.
A lot of the coverage of today’s game is overwhelmingly negative on Ireland’s behalf, with plenty of pundits basing their opinions on the performances of the two teams last weekend. I think Ireland have a big one in them today, though, and could well come out on top. Putting my neck on the line, I’m going to go for an Ireland win on a scoreline of 19-17. Yes, that close.
George Hook is suggesting that the Irish team start a massive free for all early in the game on the basis of laying a marker down and the fact that the referee can’t dish out 15 yellow cards.
The Hookmeister is saying that Ireland need to play a kicking game and to force the French back into their own 22′. Conor O’Shea and Popey, meanwhile, disagree, arguing against the need to go against the style of play that Ireland are obviously trying to adapt of late, even it has only delivered varying degrees of success. Thoughts?
The RTE crew are reporting that both Tomas O’Leary and Jamie Heaslip will start, but that there could be a late change to the Irish team. More on that anon.
There’s still a good bit of time left until kick-off and plenty of time to digest some of the JOE team’s opinions on today’s game.
JOE columnist Malcolm O’Kelly thinks France are beatable, but is worried about the Irish lineout. You can read his thoughts here. JOE contributor Conor Ward isn’t feeling pretty optimistic, thinking that the French will come out on top. Read more on his thoughts here and click here (Part One) and here (Part Two) to listen to the views of the crew from the Weekly Maul, JOE’s Rugby Podcast.
If you haven’t seen them already, the starting line ups of both teams are listed below. No news yet on the fitness of Tomas O’Leary, but I will let you know as soon as there is any word.
Ireland: L Fitzgerald (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D’Arcy (Leinster), K Earls (Munster); J Sexton (Leinster), T O’Leary (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), P O’Connell (Munster), S O’Brien (Leinster), D Wallace (Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster)
Replacements: S Cronin (Connacht), T Court (Ulster), L Cullen (Leinster), D Leamy (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster)
France: C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); Y Huget (Bayonne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), D Traille (Biarritz), M Medard (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz)
Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), S Marconnet (Biarritz), J Thion (Biarritz), S Chabal (Racing Metro), D Yachvili (Biarritz), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), V Clerc (Toulouse)
Good afternoon folks and welcome to JOE’s live coverage of Ireland’s crucial clash with France in the first Six Nations game ever to be played at the Aviva Stadium. It’s going to be hard for the new stadium to achieve the fortress-like status of the old Lansdowne Road, but the crowd will have a massive role to play today and for years to come.
I’ll be here from now until the final whistle of today’s clash and a little bit after so if you any observations, opinions or humourous quips you’d like to vent, feel free to send them my way at [email protected]. Just under an hour to go to kick-off, I’ll be back with some team news very shortly.