All-square in Paris… but it could have been so much more
France 17-17 Ireland
Ireland drew with France for the first time since 1985, but after a magnificent first half that featured two brilliant tries from Tommy Bowe, it could have been a whole lot better.
Then again, it could have been a whole lot worse. Having led 17-6 at the break, Ireland failed to score in the second half and had to rely on a last-ditch block from the huge arms of Stephen Ferris to prevent a late drop goal from Lionel Beauxis that would have won the game for the hosts.
Ireland were magnificent in the first half, showing a hunger that hasn’t been seen since the defeat of Australia in the World Cup. Tommy Bowe struck for two tries to put Ireland in the driving seat, the first a classic intercept try, the second a wonderful individual effort – with one extremely favourable bounce – which you can see below.
Ireland failed to build on their first half efforts and allowed the French back into it, with Morgan Parra kicking penalties and Wesley Fofana crossing for his third try in as many games to level the scores and that’s the way it finished.
There will be plenty of regrets for Ireland – an easy penalty miss by Jonathan Sexton in the first half, a few mistakes in crucial attacking positions and what looked like a very serious injury to Conor Murray – and although France will probably feel that they could have won the game as well, Declan Kidney and company will definitely look back on this one as one that got away.
The long wait for a win in Paris goes on…