Ireland came so close to an upset at Lansdwne Road today, losing narrowly to the French by 22-25 in a thoroughly entertaining match.
They were hardly fancied before the match, but started well and struck a few early psychological blows. An early try from Fergus McFadden, an impressive scrum against the odds, an imposing defence and a few French errors suggested it could be Ireland’s day.
The Irish were playing all the rugby, but gave away several penalties which Morgan Parra duly converted into points from anywhere in the Irish half.
The French built a lead in the second half, but then, having closed the gap to just three points courtesy of a Jamie Heaslip try in the corner, they had a chance to win the game.
A Sean Cronin knock-on put paid to that though, and the French were able to run down the clock.
Ireland were 100 times better than last week in Rome, whilst the French looked complacent and were lucky to come away with the win.
Imanol Harinordoquy said afterwards, “We are very proud of this victory” despite leaking another three tries.
Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll added, “We’re making life difficult for ourselves, making mistakes and giving away penalties.” A pretty fair assessment of a huge missed opportunity.
What were your thoughts? Are France really any good?