Six Nations: Late Ireland slip allows France to make point

Ireland 13 France 13: A second-half comeback in Dublin earns the visitors a draw for the second year in a row

aviva stadium

Where now for these teams and their coaches? A draw was hard on Ireland and Declan Kidney, whose future still remains bleak, while France coach Philippe Saint-André must be counting his blessings.

Both sides can avoid the wooden spoon now, should the French see off Scotland in Paris next weekend, but France's ills will not be fixed over night. They lie close to home in the influence of foreign players in the Top 14 and the league's position above the national team in the hearts and minds of supporters.

However, those issues were not the main cause of their sluggishness in Dublin yesterday, where indiscipline, an absence of flair and passion and a lack of control let them down. In blustery winds and incessant drizzle which ensured no crevice in the stadium was left dry, France failed to cope with the conditions that scuppered their designs.

Ireland were bothered too by the greasy ball but crucially made fewer mistakes. The barometer for the visitors was Freddie Michalak, who simply failed to fire and missed two relatively easy kicks at goal in the first half. By contrast Ireland's Paddy Jackson nailed two monster penalties and a conversion to put his Murrayfield wobble behind him.

The hosts' lineout hummed all afternoon, a comfort they have not enjoyed during this championship, and they complemented it with the rolling maul to great effect.

An initial assault on the French line was stalled by some excellent defence after 10 minutes, but the next time Ireland looked to their one-two punch they came up with the knockout blow.

It began with a 30-metre gain off the maul on the halfway line, followed by some neat touches from Fergus McFadden and Rob Kearney. This allowed Brian O'Driscoll to nudge a grubber kick into the corner which full back Yoann Huget had no option but to kick into touch. There would be no stalled engine this time as Ireland again went to the maul where Jamie Heaslip, heavily criticised since taking over the captaincy, was there with the game's first try.

The bonus to the early score, which had a visibly draining effect on French morale, was the touchline conversion from out half Jackson, who suffered with inaccuracy off the tee in the loss to Scotland.

When the Irish lineout did stutter it allowed the French to squeeze a penalty out of Irish tighthead Mike Ross at the ensuing scrum. With a relatively easy kick at goal, Michalak skewered his effort wide.

Ireland then repelled a French maul, but coughed up a penalty from the scrum which followed. Michalak atoned to give his side their first points after 26 minutes, but again they followed up positive work with a negative reaction.

After the restart referee Steve Walsh penalised them for collapsing an Irish maul and Jackson made it two from three as he landed a monster kick from wide on the right. He repeated the feat only a minute later when Christophe Samson went off his feet at the breakdown and Jackson stretched the lead to 10.

Ireland asserted all the control while France seemed happy to soak in self-pity, offering little in attack. When Michalak did get another look at the sticks on the stroke of half time he shanked it again, which led to scrum half Morgan Parra to assume kicking duties on the 53rd minute to close the gap to seven after Ireland infringed at the scrum.

Michalak's woes continued when a spilled catch allowed Jackson to instigate the Irish choke tackle to win another turnover. Another Ulster man stood up next, Luke Marshall winning a pressure-relieving penalty close to his own 22, he then made a number of thunderous hits which took their toll and allowed Ian Madigan to earn his first cap.

The rousing assault also accounted for Brian O'Driscoll and then Louis Picamoles took advantage to score a try which Parra converted to level the scores. After Eoin Reddan was removed with a suspected broken ankle the game ended in a stalemate for the second season running.

 



Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick