Tuesday 21 November 2017

The game at a glance

Dimitri Yachvili

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.

Turning point

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.

Crowd watch

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.

Magic moment

France's try was the most productive attacking moment, culminating in a sumptuous offload from Alexis Palisson for Vincent Clerc to score.

Talking point

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.

Ref watch

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."

What next?

Thursday, Ireland v Connacht, Donnybrook, 7.45; Saturday, Ireland v France, Lansdowne Road, 5.0.

Irish Independent

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