France cemented their position as Six Nations favourites as they made it two wins from two, beating Ireland in a thrilling game in Paris (France 1/2 to win the Six Nations – outright).
Andy Farrell’s Ireland went into the game without fly-half Johnny Sexton, and without his experience, France raced into a 15 point lead at the start of the second half.
The two teams were expected to put on a show in Paris, and they did not disappoint, although Ireland made too many errors in the first 40 minutes. Quickfire tries from Josh van der Flier, and Jamison Gibson-Park gave Ireland every chance before Cyril Baille crossed over for the hosts.
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Joey Carbery’s penalty reduced the deficit to three, but Melvyn Jaminet’s sixth penalty of the game helped France secure a 30-24 success.
Farrell admits France deserved the win for their clinical performance, and he says his squad need to learn from the experience.
He told ITV: “Obviously we came here to win and to perform, but there is another class side in France that are going to have a big say. They certainly did from the start as we were 10 points down in the first six minutes, which wasn’t in the script, so fairplay to them.
“To get in front and make sure we start well is something we need to look at. I thought the forward pack, it was a bit tit for tat. Their [France] scrum was very powerful in the first half, but we sorted that out, and it all comes down to one hell of a Test match. We got a point here for our courage and character.
“We are a squad, and there are certain boys who need some game time, and they will be given that, and there are certain boys who need a rest to lick their wounds, and we will analyse that as we always do.”
Earlier in the day, Wales produced a magnificent display to beat Scotland 20-17 at the Principality Stadium. Wales captain Dan Biggar led by example as he kicked 15 points in his 100th international.
His late drop-goal sealed the deal, just minutes after Finn Russell had received a yellow card in the 68th minute for a deliberate knock-on.
The first half ended 14-14 in Cardiff, but it was Wales that got the job done, and they are now 33/1 to win the Six Nations this year.
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