Planet Rugby

France see off Ireland in Dublin

20th August 2011 18:44

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Cedric Heyman on way to scoring for France against Ireland

On his way: Cedric Heymans

Ireland are facing up to the prospect of going into the World Cup without a warm-up win to their name after they lost out 26-22 to France on Saturday.

Les Bleus - who beat the Irish 19-12 in Bordeaux last Saturday - will name their RWC squad on Sunday while Ireland name theirs on Monday.

The Irish wrap up their preparations with a home match against 2003 champions England next Saturday and will be desperate for a victory.

It is worth mentioning that France only won the game by four and Ireland gifted their visitors seven second-half points when Tomas O'Leary threw a wild pass to pivot Francois Trinh-Duc.

There were ten changes to the Irish side that lost in Bordeaux last weekend, with skipper Brian O'Driscoll and midfield partner Gordon D'Arcy starting in midfield, while Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip made their first warm-up starts.

Shane Jennings filled in for the injured David Wallace in the back-row, while Munster's Felix Jones made his first start for Ireland at full back.

There were plenty of changes in the visiting side too, with Lievremont retaining just Alexis Palisson and Dimitri Szarzewski from last weekend, with the majority of the French players making their first appearance of the season.

Ireland, therefore, should have had the edge physically, and the tempo with which they began the game was testament to that.

It took just two minutes for them to open the scoring through a Jonathan Sexton penalty. They attacked relentlessly and it was only a matter of time before the breakthrough came.

Having stretched the French across the field, Healy was left in a one-on-one with France scrum-half Parra who was simply blown away by the Leinster prop, who crossed to score his first international try in 20 appearances.

Sexton pushed the extras wide, but Ireland deservedly led 8-0 with just 11 minutes gone.

France turned the match on its head in the space of five minutes, with Parra opening his account with a straightforward penalty from just outside the 22-yard line on 26 minutes.

Trinh-Duc punished a poor clearance by O'Leary to strike home a drop goal from just inside the Irish half. Then came the French try as Aurelien Rougerie cut through the midfield with ease. Heymans ran a great line to run home in style and take the lead for the first time.

Parra added another penalty just before the break and then added a third just after the restart. The points kept coming for the visitors as they added a second try moments later.

Unfortunately for the hosts, the score was self inflicted, with O'Leary the culprit as his suicidal attempted pass to Sexton was intercepted by Trinh-Duc, who touched down unopposed. Sexton and O'Brien then put a little gloss on the scoreline late on.

World Cup betting odds

The scorers:

For Ireland:
Tries: Healy, Sexton, O'Brien
Con: O'Gara 2
Pen: Sexton

For France:
Tries: Heymans, Trinh-Duc
Con: Parra 2
Pen: Parra 3
Drop: Trinh-Duc

Ireland: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Jerry Flannery, 17 Tom Court, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Stephen Ferris, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Luke Fitzgerald.

France: 15 Cedric Heymans, 14 Maxime Médard, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 David Skrela, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louise Picamoles, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascale Papé, Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.

Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado , 17 Fabien Barcella , 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Thierry Dusautoir, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 David Marty, 22 Vincent Clerc, 23 Luc Ducalcon.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Tim Hayes (Wales)
Television match official: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

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