Sunday Mirror

FRENCH STRUT AS IR­ISH FLOP

- Sports · Soccer · Rugby · Paris · Paris Saint-Germain FC · London · France · Ireland · Antoine Dupont · France national football team · Romain Ntamack · Jacob Stockdale

YOU BLEUTY! Ro­main Nta­mack cel­e­brates bril­liant try

IRE­LAND ended up down and out in Paris and London af­ter a sec­ond away de­feat left their Six Na­tions dreams in tat­ters.

A decent first half pre­ceded a dis­as­trous sec­ond one – as France upped the tempo and ran in four tries to se­cure the win.

Un­forced er­rors, a dis­as­trous set piece and some de­fen­sive blun­ders cost Ire­land.

And in the end even tries from Cian Healy, Rob­bie Hen­shaw and Ja­cob Stock­dale could not save them.

Any time Ire­land looked like get­ting into the game, they coughed up points – An­toine Dupont and Ro­main Nta­mack scor­ing a try apiece, Nta­mack set­ting up Vir­imi Vakatawa for the game-clinch­ing fourth French try.

Even though Stock­dale had the last word – it was too lit­tle, too late.

Com­ing into the game, Ire­land knew they needed a six-point win to grab the ti­tle.

And they showed their in­ten­tion from the start, tak­ing the game to France, Bundee Aki putting in some huge car­ries in the early stages, Johnny Sex­ton con­trol­ling the game with his kick­ing.

Yet some­how Ire­land were kick­ing them­selves go­ing seven points down af­ter seven min­utes when An­toine Dupont fin­ished off a su­perb French move that saw Gael Fickou slide his way down the left wing be­fore pass­ing in­side to his scrum half to go on and score.

Be­hind, Ire­land re­fused to panic – and could have had a penalty try when An­thony Bouthier de­lib­er­ately pushed the ball into touch.

In­stead ref Wayne Barnes waved Ire­land’s protests away – and even though Cian Healy would even­tu­ally squeeze over the line to mark his 100th cap in the best way pos­si­ble, the truth is that Ire­land’s dom­i­nance was not re­flected on the score­board.

In­stead they went in four points down at the break – two penal­ties from Sex­ton can­celled out by a penalty try for France af­ter Cae­lan Doris made a mess of things in the back­field.

It didn’t help that Sex­ton turned down a kick­able penalty in the 40th minute – be­liev­ing a try was on the cards by go­ing for the cor­ner in­stead of the posts.

Still, they had rea­son to be­lieve.

Or at least they did for a cou­ple of min­utes – by which stage Ro­main Nta­mack had scored France’s third try. A cou­ple of ad­di­tional penal­ties put the French 15 points up.

Could Ire­land come back? Rob­bie Hen­shaw cer­tainly did his best to find out, scor­ing a bril­liant 60th minute try to give them hope.

But hope was all it was as Les Bleus turned on the style and the Ir­ish were left to rue one that got away.

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