Sport Rugby

Saturday 24 February 2018

The game at a glance

Hugh Farrelly

Star turns

Morgan Parra got the official award before being replaced by Dimitri Yachvili (what Ireland wouldn't give for France's scrum-half options) but it was a show of collective strength from the French that put the hosts away. Sean O'Brien, Mike Ross, Paul O'Connell and Andrew Trimble were the pick of the Irish.

Ref watch

Craig Joubert seemed to have a handle on the scrums and neither side could have too many complaints.

Turning point

Cian Healy's try after 10 minutes seemed to rouse the French and it would be 64 minutes before Ireland scored again.

Crowd watch

A decent attendance of more than 45,000 offered lusty encouragement as the home side began with real purpose. For the next hour, it was the outnumbered French supporters doing all the shouting.

Magic moment

Cedric Heymans' try after half an hour was a thing of beauty, first-phase ball moved wide and taken into the danger zone by Aurelien Rougerie, with Heymans running a wonderful trailing line for the touchdown.

Talking point

The successful 10-12 partnership of Ronan O'Gara and Jonathan Sexton towards the end of the match was a topic of debate afterwards but most of the talk centred on whether Ireland are heading for more World Cup disappointment.

What they said

Declan Kidney (Ireland coach):

"Am I concerned? No, not really. In terms of what we're doing and the way we're going about it, I believe we are going the right way."

Marc Lievremont (France coach):

"I expected more. We will not start crowing after two matches against Ireland."

What next?

Saturday: Ireland v England, 2.30

Irish Independent

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