Six Nations - France v Ireland

Six Nations - France v Ireland

IT Sun, Mar 4

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  • 14:24
    Welcome to the Irish Times live coverage of Ireland's Six Nations Championship match against France at the Stade de France. John O'Sullivan here and I'll be keeping you up to date with the events in Paris and also be dropping in the odd bit of topical sports news.

    On that note Andre Villas Boas has parted company with Chelsea, the club releasing a statement in the last hour to that effect.

    For those of you interested in the outcome of today's Leinster Schools Senior Cup rugby semi-final, Clongowes beat Terenure 13-10.

    We'll also be keeping you up to date on how Rory McIlroy's bid to not only win the Honda Classic but if he can take the title become the number one ranked player in the sport. The 22 year old tees off at 3.30pm, Irish time. 
  • 14:33
    RTE are using an evaluation of the weather over the past five weeks as a metaphor to describe Ireland's Six Nations campaign to date. Jean Byrne looks a little sheepish and I'm not surprised.
  • 14:35
    Brent Pope is bullish. Conor O'Shea is measured. George Hook is pessimistic. They've got all the angles covered.
  • 14:41
    Ireland coach Declan Kidney in a pre-match touchline interview admits that the conditions are appreciably different from the night of the postponed match, pointing out: "It's about 20 degrees warmer. Hopefully the showers that are forecast will hold off."
  • 14:42
    Hook is now talking about Pamela Anderson. It's just not right and it's before the watershed!
  • 14:46
    Ireland last won in Paris in 2000. Ronan O'Gara is the only survivor from that occasion in today's Irish match squad. Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland's three try hero 12 years ago is watching the match at home. Anthony Foley, who played number eight in 2000, will be in the coaching box in his role as interim forwards' coach in the absence of Gert Smal.

    Oops, it's started to rain quite heavily.
  • 14:47
  • 14:48
    Some of the great and good in Irish rugby look back on that famous day in Paris, 12 years ago; hopefully a portent of things to come this afternoon.
  • 14:50
    George is now busy trashing the Irish team. The sooner this match starts the better before everyone reaches for the remote control.
  • 14:52
    It's 2-1 for France on the RTE panel. Apparently there's a lot of wind in the Stade de France too!
  • 14:55
    Ireland are on their way out of the dressing room. Waiting in the tunnel for the arrival of Thierry Dusautoir and his French team. They're in the tunnel too. Dusautoir and Ireland's captain Paul O'Connell staring straight ahead.
  • 14:57
    The anthems are about to begin. Ireland's Call followed by the wonderfully evocative La Marseillaise; one of the treats of attending a rugby match in Paris.
  • 14:59
    Ready to go and awaiting Dave Pearson's whistle.
  • 15:01
    Two great early catches from Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe.
  • 15:03
    Keith Earls and Andrew Trimble both miss early tackles. Good counter-attack from Clement Poitrenaud. Much to easy in breaking the Irish chasing line. Break in play for an injury to Vincent Clerc.
  • 15:05
    Great choke-tackle by Stephen Ferris and Jonathan Sexton on Imanol Harinordoquy. Turnover.
  • 15:07
    Good Irish scrum. Kearney seeing planty of ball in the first five minutes. Ireland stopped behind the gain-line a couple of times and so go to the air once again. Good catch Poitrenaud but good chase too. Great tackle by Ferris on Dimitri Szarzewski. France concede penalty.
  • 15:08
    Sexton, into the wind from the French 10 metre line. Smothers it left and wide. A bit of a snatch.
  • 15:09
    Kearney held up in the tackle. Turnover. Ireland are going to have to take all their chances.
  • 15:11
    Jamie Heaslip is penalised for not releasing after Ireland had turned over ball. Francois Trinh Duc punts into Irish 22.
  • 15:13
    D'Arcy and Earls both put in good aggressive tackles. Ireland drive France back to the Irish 10 metre line. Trinh Duc goes to the air and Kearney takes brilliantly under severe pressure from Rougerie.
  • 15:14
    13 mins: Try time Ireland. Tommy Bowe picks off Rougerie's pass and canters over from 35 metres. Sexton adds the conversion.
  • 15:16
    The try highlighted the value of an agressive line in defence. Szarzewski penalised at ruck on Ireland's 10 metre line. Ireland's work at the rucks so far has been first class.
  • 15:17
    Irish forwards are taking it up through the guts. O'Connell loses control. French scrum.
  • 15:19
    Terrible decision by Pearson to give France a penalty. Ireland's chase of the high ball excellent once again and momentum took them off their feet having rucked past the tackler. Very harsh.
  • 15:21
    Another Irish turnover won. The commitment of numbers to the tackle is paying dividends.
  • 15:22
    Murray penalised for not putting the ball into a scrum quickly enough. Marginal call. France opt for scrum.
  • 15:24
    Sumptuous offload from Trinh Duc sets Harinordoquy rampaging into Irish 22. This is more like France and Ireland transgress in desperation. Penalty to France.
  • 15:25
    22 mins: French scrumhalf Morgan Parra posts the penalty from 18 metres.
  • 15:27
  • 15:28
    Parra kicks ball into touch on full having taken it back into his own 22. Ireland win lineout. O'Callaghan and O'Connell take it up. France penalised at the ruck for not rolling away in the tackle.
  • 15:29
    25 mins: Sexton from the French 22 metre line makes no mistake.
  • 15:31
    MIke Ross has taken a bang but is back on his feet. Tommy Bowe was almost away again getting one hand to Parra's pass. Pearson adjudicates that it's a knock-on, only. Ireland are penalised from the ensuing scrum. The French hold the ball in and continue to push. The Ireland backrow needs to stay down.
  • 15:32
    29 mins: Parra points at the posts and his long range effort scarps over the cross bar. It's now 10-6 to the visitors.
  • 15:34
    France win the re-start, as they have done a little too easily throughout the opening 30 minutes. Trinh Duc finds space in behind Trimble and to compound matters, France pinch the lineout. Ireland force yet another turnover. Great work by Sexton, O'Brien and Ferris.
  • 15:35
    The band is playing in Paris but it's the Irish supporters who are in better voice.
  • 15:39
    Healy takes a cheap shot in the back, France though are awarded a penalty and after take a quick tap France take it to the Irish 22 when Healy, coming back from receiving treatement interferes with play. Another French penalty and a general warming from referee Pearson to Ireland captain O'Connell. Parra though misses the penalty. A let-off for Ireland in more ways than one.
  • 15:40
    Little errors are creeping into Ireland's play. A knock-on here and there. It's inviting France back into the game and is ominous.
  • 15:40
    Tommy Bowe touches down for Ireland at the Stade de France. - Inpho
    Tommy Bowe touches down for Ireland at the Stade de France. - Inpho
  • 15:42
    Great steal by O'Brien and 30 seconds later Ireland have their second try. It's T-Bowe time again.
  • 15:45
    39 mins: Ireland counter-attack and Ferris and Earls give Bowe a run on the outside. He chips over Poitrenaud and regathers the ball, dummys the pass inside to Kearney, fixing Parra, and touches down. Sexton lands the conversion. There's just time for the re-start but Ireland go in at the interval leading 17-6.
  • 15:49
    Wow, what a 40 minutes of rugby from an Irish perspective. France dominate territorially and shade the possession stakes yet find themselves trailing by 11 points and two tries to nil.

    Bowe read the intercept brilliantly for his first and then demonstrated great footballing skills to chip and regather for the second after the visitors were rewarded for their enterprise.

    There are one or two minor concerns; namely the scrum where France are looking to exert pressure on their own ball. Ireland's choke-tackling and aggression in the tackle has been superb in general terms.
  • 15:52
    Ireland are making their tackles on the right side of the gain-line. They key now for the visitors is to maintain the level of commitment and aggression. The mindset has to be to try and win the game rather than sit back and hope not hang on.
  • 15:52
    Guest When playing France or any great team in any sport. You must make them provide magic to beat you. 17-6 does that. French more than capable of producing that magic.
  • 15:56
    There have been a couple of flashes of what France are capable of when they manage to put pace on the game. The home side are going to have chances in the second half and it's home Ireland cope with sustained bouts of pressure that will decide the outcome. Ireland need to keep their discipline. Pearson has already issued a collective warning and the French will be keen to remind him of that at the first possible opportunity.
  • 15:57
    The second half is on. Crossed fingers, bitten nails and no hiding behind the couch!
  • 16:00
    If the first 20 minutes of the match was important then the same applies after the interval. Ireland must continue to frustrate the French. Ireland lose another lineout. French scrum on Irish 22 and the home side gets the drive on. France are battering away with their forwards. On moving it wide, Rougerie's pass goes to ground. Lucky escape.
  • 16:01
    Sexton is having a brilliant game in defence, especially in the double and treble tackles. Rain is getting heavier, ball slippier, so precision is so important in terms of the basics.
  • 16:02
    Great feet from D'Arcy inside his own 22 to tidy up poor ball and give Sextion a chance to take play 20 metres down the pitch.
  • 16:05
    46 mins: Ireland adjudged to have collapsed a French maul and come in from the side to boot. Parra elects to go for goal from 26 metres half way towards the touchline and it creeps inside the right hand post: 9-17.
  • 16:07
    France have been energised and it's their turn to put in some thumping tackles driving Ireland back in a succession of tackles. Trimble's pass to Heaslip goes astray. FRance scrum just outside their 22.
  • 16:07
  • 16:11
    Ireland just seem a little tentative. Now is not the time for self doubt. Trimble misses a tackle on Poitrenaud and suddenly France are on the front foot.

    50 mins: A French pass goes to ground. Earls misses a fly hack and the ball is flipped to Fofana who races 35 metres and takes Kearney's tackle to score a try. Parra misses the conversion from the touchline. 14-17
  • 16:16
    It was a very soft try. Ireland desperately need to put a little structure on the game. The mistakes are starting to rack up from an Irish perspective. France have brought on William Servat and Vincent Debaty. Great half-break from Kearney but unlucky to slip and slide into touch.

    56 mins: Ireland penalised at a ruck for not rolling away. Parra steps up and points at the posts. He makes no mistake and the side are now level. 17-17.
  • 16:19
    58 mins: Donnacha Ryan is on for Donncha O'Callaghan. Ireland continue to make mistakes and Conor Murray may have suffered a serious leg injury; he landed awkwardly trying to jump for a high ball. Eoin Reddan is already stripped and will be coming on. Murray is being stretchered off.
  • 16:21
    Very unfortunate for the young Munster and Garryowen scrumhalf. Ireland are putting France under no pressure. There not managing any continuity and are giving the ball to the home side far too cheaply. The Irish discipline is now a real problem. They've conceded another penalty at a ruck for use of hands. The scoreboard and momentum are going one way.
  • 16:21
    60 mins: Lionel Nallet in for Pascal Pape.
  • 16:23
    Ireland aren't competing on the French ball and it's just a little too easy for the French to set up a maul. The French pack are hammering around the fringes but Best turns it over.

    Another brilliant corruscating break from Kearney. Ireland are in the French 22. They need points or at least to sustain the pressure through the phases.
  • 16:25
    Ireland are battering away and get a good break when Ferris attempt to keep the ball alive strikes a French foot and bounces into touch eight metres from the French line.
  • 16:26
    Ireland lose the lineout: unforgiveable in the circumstances. The next Irish lineout will be 3o metres from the French line. Peter O'Mahony is on for O'Brien; the latter had a fine game.
  • 16:29
    Ireland finally manage to get some continuity but unfortunately after 90 seconds of sustained pressure in the French 22, the ball slips from D'Arcy's hands. It's a tough break but the conditions are definitely getting worse.
  • 16:31
    Lionel Beauxis is on for Clement Poitrenaud. Good news is that Conor Murray is able to make his way back to the stand, albeit on crutches.

    Kearney takes another high ball, beating Harinordoquy in the air. It's simply breath taking much like his performance. Heaslip makes a poor decision in possession and Earls, with no room, is forced into touch.
  • 16:35
    Underfoot conditions are treacherous. Ireland starting to look a little leg weary. Ronan O'Gara is on for D'Arcy, although Sexton appears to be carrying an injury. Louis PIcamoles on for France. Ireland concede another penalty and having spent the last eight minutes in the French 22, they are now in their own. Fergus McFadden is on for Andrew Trimble Trimble.
  • 16:37
    Beauxis goes for a drop goal but only manages a daisy-cutter that goes along the ground. Ireland take a quick 22 and take play to the half way line but again they give away a penalty at a ruck; this time for hands in the ruck. It's self destruction on a ridiculous scale. Sean Cronin and Tom Court on for Best and Healy.
  • 16:38
    A Beauxis drop goal is coming. France are just working the hard yards through their pack.
  • 16:38
    They're up to the Irish 22. There are four and a half minutes left.
  • 16:38
    Beauxis is in the pocket.
  • 16:39
    Charged down by Ferris.
  • 16:39
    But France still have the ball but for now back on their own 10 metre line.
  • 16:40
    France up to the Irish 22.
  • 16:41
    Ireland are out on their feet. It's tremendously gutsy.........and Ireland have been awarded the penalty. Think it was Heaslip. Great character. 90 seconds left.
  • 16:43
    Lineout to Ireland on the half way line. Ireland win the lineout but then lose it in contact. French scrum eight metres inside Irish half. We are in time added on. The last draw between the teams was in 1985 at Lansdowne Road.
  • 16:43
    One more passage of play.
  • 16:43
    Re-set scrum.
  • 16:44
    La Marseillaise is audible.
  • 16:45
    Attention for Nicolas Mas. Getting some grass out of his mouth. The French crowd in full voice. A final call to arms for their team.
  • 16:45
    It's over. A draw in Paris. Tremendous guts from Ireland.
  • 16:47
    There's no doubt they'll reflect on what might have been after leading 17-6 at the interval but when France had clawed their way back to parity with over 20 minutes left, Ireland's fate looked decidely precarious....but their commitment and bravery penned an escape clause.
  • 16:50
    France can no longer win the Grand Slam. There's a sombre mood in the stadium as both sets of supporters ponder what might have been. The draw will hurt the Ireland players because of the position in which they put themselves. Unfortunately too many penalties and a few problems in the lineout undermined the ambition.
  • 16:50
    Ireland's last draw in Paris was 62 years ago (1950).
  • 16:53
    Tommy Bowe (Man of the match): "Disappointment. To come out and not score in the second half was so disappointing. Nobody likes a draw. We gave ourselves the best opportunity but not scoring in the second half, we will be kicking ourselves. We had our opportunities and we didn't take them."
  • 17:03
    Looking at events in Paris from an Irish pespective, Rob Kearney produced one of the all-time great performances at fullback, Tommy Bowe scored two tries, and to a man Ireland worked voraciously. France got away with periodically sealing off at rucks in the second half and Irish discipline wasn't good in this area of the game.
  • 17:05
    Ireland captain Paul O'Connell: "The second half performance was very disappointing. There were a few mistakes and the penalty count was weighted heavily against us which is very frustrating and very annoying. We put ourselves in a great position but we didn't capitalise."
  • 17:07
    Ireland coach Declan Kidney also used the word 'disappointment,' to describe his overriding emotion after the game, poitning out that Ireland outscored France by two tries to one yet could not manage to close out the match. He confirmed that scrumhalf Conor Murray had suffered a hyper-extension to his knee and while there did not appear to be serious ligament damage, they would not know the full picture for a couple of days.
  • 17:10
    The Irish backrow were excellent, Stephen Ferris and Sean O'Brien exceptional in many respects. Rory Best, lineout aside, was superb in most facets of the game. Sexton tackled very well in the first half, so too D'Arcy and Earls in midfield where they largely negated the threat of Fofana - the French centre scored a try for the third consecutive Six Nations game - and Rougerie.

  • 17:13
    Given the sheer physical impact of the game this afternoon, the six day turnaround until the Scots arrive in Dublin next Saturday looks harsh.
  • 17:19
    For those looking for an update on Rory McIlroy, adverse weather conditions have meant a two-hour delay for the start of his round at the Honda Classic. he is due to tee off in about 10 minutes.
  • 17:19
    Man Utd are leading Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane after 50 minutes, Wayne Rooney the scorer.
  • 17:28
  • 17:48
  • 17:50
    Terri Jackson .France gave away 4 penalties while Ireland gave away 11 penalties with one Ireland player giving away two penalties from both of which France scored. this is totally unacceptable. the same happened against Wales The head coach will have to be replaced
  • 17:52
    A rather gloomy assessment.

    That's all from us, folks. We're signing off from the rugby to concentrate on Rory McIlroy's assault on top spot in golf's world rankings. He's level par through his first at Palm Beach Gardens and we'll keep you up to speed with how the rest of his round goes througout the evening.
  • 17:52
    Thanks for reading.