The game at a glance
The little general was the game's totemic figure throughout, from his 100pc goal-kicking display to his sublime box-kicking, and it was his deftly illegal flick which relieved French pressure at 13-12.
An Irish club side at 12-13 and after seeing a maul illegally stemmed virtually on the try-line may have opted to catch and drive from the resultant penalty; Ireland did not and Ronan O'Gara missed the tough 63rd-minute kick. Three minutes later, it was 12-16.
France's valedictory international before the World Cup and the return of international rugby to the Chaban Delmas for the first time since the 1999 tournament combined to deliver a typically passionate, south-west France atmosphere. 'La Marseillaise' was simply enthralling.
France's try was the most productive attacking moment, culminating in a sumptuous offload from Alexis Palisson for Vincent Clerc to score.
Ireland yet again produced a first-half of worrying ineptitude when it came to retaining possession, while their set-piece woes combining three lost scrums and five line-outs were fatal.
Steve Walsh missed a few blatant forward passes and an illegal Yachvili manoeuvre from an offside position.
What they said
Declan Kidney (Ireland coach):
"We've talked about playing the matches to win the matches. I think too much of the players to just accept it. We know we need to improve."
Marc Lievremont (France coach):
"I'm happy we won our last match in France and also because we have built upon our training work."
Thursday, Ireland v Connacht, Donnybrook, 7.45; Saturday, Ireland v France, Lansdowne Road, 5.0.