Eire have suffered a second Six Nations defeat as France underlined their standing as match favourites by grinding out a 15-13 win in Dublin.
The Irish suffered successive losses firstly of a Six Nations marketing campaign for the primary time following scores from Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud, plus 5 factors from the boot of Matthieu Jalibert.
Ronan Kelleher’s maiden worldwide strive helped hold Andy Farrell’s depleted hosts in rivalry till the ultimate whistle however they have been unable to keep away from one other damaging defeat following final weekend’s loss in Wales.
Les Bleus scrum-half Antoine Dupont – extensively thought to be one of the best participant on the planet on present type – was largely effectively marshalled by the hosts, though he confirmed flashes of brilliance because the French revolution below Fabien Galthie continues apace.
France have gained 9 of 11 video games because the appointment of Galthie, whereas this defeat piles extra stress on opposing head coach Farrell.
Eire’s 2020 title aspirations have been resulted in Paris on the finish of October and hopes of avoiding a repeat have been dealt a extreme blow throughout a difficult build-up wherein a number of key gamers have been dominated out.
Skipper Johnny Sexton, who this week turned embroiled in a dispute with a French neurologist concerning his concussion historical past, and vice-captain James Ryan have been unavailable as a consequence of head accidents, whereas scrum-half Conor Murray picked up a hamstring concern and flanker Peter O’Mahony was hit with a three-match ban following his pricey pink card in Cardiff.
It was the primary time in a decade that Eire had began a Six Nations match with out fly-half Sexton or scrum-half Murray, leading to an inexperienced half-back pairing of Billy Burns and Jamison Gibson-Park.
Fly-half Burns would have been determined to show himself a succesful understudy to Sexton on the again of his much-discussed mistake which ended the sport on the Principality Stadium.
His first penalty, after Jalibert had squandered one on the different finish, was a wayward effort which confirmed indicators of nerves however he made no mistake with a simple second try to put Eire 3-0 forward 20 minutes in.
With a lot at stake so early within the competitors, there had been a cagey begin on a gray and moist afternoon within the Irish capital.
France have been quickly quickly lowered to 14 males when Bernard Le Roux was sin-binned for a deliberate journey on Keith Earls.
Eire seemed to have shortly seized on the indiscipline, just for replays to indicate James Lowe was pushed into contact by a mix of Brice Dulin and Gael Fickou simply earlier than grounding the ball within the left nook.
France have been enjoying an thrilling model of rugby below former captain Galthie and are quickly shifting into rivalry for a house World Cup in 2023.
Regardless of their slender escape, numerical drawback and an absence of possession, the guests burst into life to say the opening strive of the afternoon.
A sequence of very good offloads and free-flowing rugby was adopted by fast ball from proper to left, with a bounce go catching out Gibson-Park and permitting Fickou to arrange Ollivon to register his seventh rating in 10 matches.
Jalibert made no mistake with the conversion and added a penalty to place Les Bleus right into a 10-3 half-time lead.
France may simply have been additional forward early within the second interval however, after rampaging hooker Julien Marchand was tackled near the road, Dupont’s restoration go inadvertently hit the pinnacle of Paul Willemse.
Following that escape, the hosts suffered a triple blow as a consequence of a succession of head accidents.
After Burns was pressured for evaluation to get replaced by Ross Byrne, stand-in skipper Iain Henderson – the 108th participant to captain Eire – and prop Cian Healy have been left bloodied by a nasty conflict of heads.
France have been effectively on prime at that stage and took management of the competition within the fifty fifth minute courtesy of a strive from wing Penaud.
Penaud, one among two males recalled following final weekend’s thumping 50-10 win in Rome, dived over in the correct nook following help from Jalibert and Dulin.
Nonetheless, Les Bleus had little time to benefit from the cushion.
𝗞𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗵𝗲𝗿’𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗜𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗿𝘆! 💨☘️
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 14, 2021
Ollivon conceded a penalty from the restart and Eire’s alternative hooker Kelleher capitalised on a fortuitous bounce from the ensuing line-out to the touch down.
Substitute fly-half Byrne transformed after which lowered the deficit to simply two factors at 15-13 with a penalty to arrange an exhilarating last quarter-hour.
Galthie was visibly annoyed when Jalibert hit the posts with a 72nd-minute penalty however Les Bleus have been disciplined and doggedly dug in to win in Dublin for the primary time since 2011 to maintain their title cost on monitor.