Ireland bear the stamp of failure

Five Nations' Championship: Clohessy stands accused in kicking row as flamboyant French inflict a record defeat
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France 45 Ireland 10

Tries: Saint-Andre 13 Try: Penalty try 80

Ntamack 21, 55, Castel 32, 63

Accoceberry 40, Campan 74 Con: Humphreys 80

Cons: Castaignede 21, 40, Pen: Humphreys 37

55, 63, 74

PETER CLOHESSY, the Ireland prop, last night stood accused of stamping on the heads of French forwards during his country's record 45- 10 defeat. Ireland have grown accustomed to being plastered in Paris and they suffered another demolition yesterday when France rediscovered their form and their zest for flamboyance. They were torn to shreds as France recorded an almost facile victory, scoring seven tries to one. If Clohessy is found guilty, he could be suspended for the match against Wales in two weeks.

Pat Whelan, the Irish manager, said: "I did not see any foul play by Clohessy, but if, after viewing the video, we see that the player has deliberately kicked an opponent we will take the appropriate action." After the match, the French forward Olivier Roumat needed two stitches for a gash in his head while Christian Califano was taken to hospital for treatment to broken teeth and a damaged jaw.

This was Ireland's worst defeat since they began playing France 87 years ago, and with their captain Jim Staples definitely out for the match against Wales after suffering concussion yesterday, Whelan must fear the inevitable from this year's Five Nations'- another Irish wooden spoon.

France, following their miserable display against Scotland at Murrayfield, made wholesale changes and they selected wisely. Virtually everything they touched turned to gold. By contrast, Ireland, who had also had a reshuffle after an anaemic defeat to the Scots in Dublin, were reduced to a shambles long before the end of a one-sided affair. Whereas France worked the oracle by recalling Gui Accoceberry at scrum-half, Ireland's decision to reinstate Niall Hogan badly backfired - his service to the new cap David Humphreys was at best erratic.

Philippe Saint-Andre scored the first try, fastening on to a chip from Thierry Lacroix. From that point on, France were supremely confident and almost every time they ran the ball, huge gaps appeared before them.

France soon increased their lead when Abdel Benazzi, who had been switched from the back row to lock, made a barnstorming run towards the line and slipped a pass to Emile Ntamack, who nonchalantly touched down between the posts.

Lacroix, who had missed with a couple of kicks, was replaced midway through the first half by Stephane Glas. Far from this weakening the French midfield, the change gave France an extra cutting edge. Ireland was soon subjected to the sight of breaking Glas. The centre repeatedly sliced through an Irish defence who for the most part found themselves chasing shadows.

France's third try was scored by the new flanker, Richard Castel, who accepted an inside pass from Ntamack. Five minutes before the interval, Humphreys kicked a penalty from in front of the posts but it provided only a brief interruption to a French procession. Thomas Castaignede made a mesmerising break from inside his own half and the move was given impetus by Jean-Luc Sadourny and Ntamack and resulted in a try for Accoceberry. Castaignede's conversion with the last kick of the half gave France a 24-3 lead.

Ireland were further handicapped when Staples was replaced by Maurice Field, with Jonathan Bell switching to full-back. France, who were now running everything, launched another dazzling attack and Ntamack crossed for his second try.

A few minutes later, Glas and Ntamack again cut Ireland to ribbons and from close range Castel burrowed over for his second try and France's sixth. Near the end, Benazzi laid on a try for Olivier Campan, before Ireland, who had not scored a try here since 1980, were awarded a penalty try for persistent offside. Humphreys converted but it was no consolation to Ireland.

France: J-L Sadourny (Colomiers); E Ntamack (Toulouse), T Lacroix (Dax), O Campan (Agen), P Saint-Andre (Montferrand, capt); T Castaignede (Toulouse), G Accoceberry (Begles-Bordeaux); C Califano (Toulouse), J-M Gonzalez (Bayonne), F Tournaire (Narbonne), A Benazzi (Agen), O Roumat (Dax), L Cabannes (Racing), R Castel (Toulouse), F Pelous (Dax). Replacements: S Glas (Bourgoin) for Lacroix (22); M Perie (Toulon) for Califano (52); S despagne (Toulouse) for Roumat (52); M de Rougemont (Toulon) for Gonzalez (70).

Ireland: J Staples (Harlequins, capt); R Wallace (Garryowen), J Bell (Northampton), K McQuilkin (Bective Rangers), N Woods (Blackrock College); D Humphreys (London Irish), N Hogan (Terenure College); N Popplewell (Newcastle), T Kingston (Dolphin), P Clohessy (Young Munster), P Johns (Dungannon, G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), J Davidson (Dungannon), D Corkery (Cork Constitution), V Costello (St Mary's College). Replacement: M Field (Malone) for Staples (40).

Referee: E Morrison (England).