Ireland now in pole position says French giant Atonio

Ireland are in "pole position" to pull off a Six Nations Grand Slam, according to France prop Uini Atonio.

Hulking France prop Atonio (pictured), the Six Nations' heaviest player at 155kg, clambered off the bench to hand Ireland a second-half fright that ultimately came to nought for Philippe Saint-Andre's men.

The 24-year-old La Rochelle star believed France almost turned the tide against Ireland, but admitted Schmidt's side can now complete a European clean sweep.

"They won the tournament last year, so they are capable of doing that again," Atonio said. "And they are in pole position to do the Grand Slam I think.

"To be honest I'm not looking down on them but I hope they could lose one game, because that would still give us a chance of winning the tournament.

"It's such a tough competition, so if you're not on you're a game you 're going to lose.

"I know we've still got a chance, but Ireland are the front-runners now.

"If we'd played another 10 minutes we would have won - but hats off to Ireland because they played a great game."