Video highlights – Ireland get bonus point win over France

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland side achieved a bonus-point try win over a poor French side in their Guinness Six Nations class at a very cold Aviva Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

While many French sides have entertained the crowds at Lansdowne Road, this French side put in as bad a performance as a visiting team has given in Dublin 4.

Ireland captain Rory Best opened the scoring when touching down for a try within the opening minutes of this Guinness Six Nations fixture. With Jonathan Sexton converting, the home side found itself 7-0 up within three minute of New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe blowing his whistle to start this game.

In the 16th minute, with France having a defensive scrum on their own line, Cian Healy thought he had scored a try when leaping forward to touchdown as the ball went backwards during a scrum. The TMO and referee decided, however, that the Leinsterman had knocked the ball on, thus awarding another scrum to the visitors.
From an Irish lineout, a Sexton loup eventually saw the number 10 receive the ball as he scored his side’s second try just right of the posts. The Ireland vice-captain easily converted to double his team’s lead to 14-0 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the opening period.

Garry Ringrose believed he had added another five-pointer when stretching to touchdown under the posts minutes later only for the television pictures to show that the Ireland player had lost the ball forward in the process. Ringrose had shown great skill in initially collecting the high ball, but to the disappointment of the home support the officials decided Ringrose had lost control of the ball and had knocked on.

Ireland replacement Jack Conan, who had come on for the injured Josh van de Flier after 24 minutes of the game, increased the Irish lead with the side’s third try of the game when scoring out on the wing. An impressive array of Irish carries, with the industrious Sexton central to the action, allowed Conan the space to score in front of the East Stand. Sexton missed his first kick of the evening when attempting the conversion, but it still meant Ireland had a 19-0 advantage at the interval.

Half time: Ireland 19 France 0

Keith Earls got Ireland’s bonus point try and his 30th International try when racing off the back of a pre-rehearsed Ireland move. The ‘Moyross Magician’ showed his usual burst of pace as he left the French defensive attempt in his wake. Sexton added the extras for a 26-0 score line.

By this stage the team was effectively over and the attention of the Irish coaching team had clearly moved on to the game against Wales next Saturday as the Irish bench was used very early. France avoided being kept scoreless for the first time since their 21-0 loss to Scotland in Murrayfield in 1990 when Yoann Huget got his side’s first score of the game, before it was immediately converted.

Disappointingly for Ireland the French scored another five-pointer in the 80th minute of the game which, when converted, gave a more respectable look to the final scoreline from a French viewpoint.

Ireland now head to Wales for their final Guinness Six Nations match next Saturday, while France travel to Rome for their clash with Conor O’Shea’s Italy.

Final score: Ireland 26 France 14

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