Six Nations Game 2 – Ireland vs France (30-21)
After the disappointing performances of the first game, the clash at Croke Park was somewhat more entertaining. It was a much closer game, and showed plenty of skill from both teams.
After an early Irish penalty, the French struck with a try from old war-horse Imanol Harinordiquy [left]. He’s been in and out of the team for years, but fully justified his inclusion today with some sublime play at the set piece, at the breakdown and in the loose.
The Irish pulled back to within a point after a Ronan O’Gara penatly. Then a try by Jamie Heaslip pulled them further ahead. The French landed a drop goal just before half time to bring the score to 13-10.
The second half was bearly 3 minutes old when Ireland’s talisman Captain Brian O’Driscoll [right] showed why he’s still in the team. He takes a quick ball off the top of a lineout and evades his man for a wonderfully engineered try. Vintage O’Driscoll, for sure.
France hit back on 50 minutes when Lionel Beauxis kicks to his wing and Maxime Medard crosses to bring the scoreline to 20-15. Beauxis adds three points with another drop goal to bring the French to within two points, 20-18
The Irish turned the screw in the 66th minute when Gordon D’Arcy crossed just by the posts after a lovely sideways jink to evade the French fingertips. O’Gara’s conversion put the men in green further ahead.
A penalty apiece before the end of the game brought the final score to 30-21. It was a highly entertaining game, and the Irish will be pleased at how confident and fit the team looked. They will head to Rome with their tails up. Meanwhile, the French will need to regroup before they go back home to Paris to face Scotland next weekend.