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Sunday, March 04, 2012

France vs Ireland ends in disappointing stalemate in Paris

A second half comeback from the hosts resulted in a 17-17 draw between France and Ireland in their rearranged Six Nations fixture on Sunday afternoon. The outcome rules out France's chances of a Grand Slam, while Ireland's title aspirations are now over.

Brilliant Irish winger Tommy Bowe scored twice for the visitors as they raced off to a first half lead, his first try coming from an intercept after a loose pass by center Aurelien Rougerie.

He scored again later on from a fantastic chip and chase effort, but the second half boot of Morgan Parra, and the pace of emerging talent Wesley Fofana both ruled out an Ireland victory.

"It’s disappointing for us, we played good rugby in the first half, we didn't match it in the second. It’s disappointing, we had a great opportunity to win and we didn’t take it. It’s frustrating for us, you don’t get many chances to win here," captain Paul O'Connell told BBC1.

Thierry Dusautoir said his team are very disappointed, echoed by coach Phillipe Saint-Andre. "In the dressing room it felt like a defeat. The Irish defend very well and contest the breakdown well. You have to congratulate the Irish, but you can't give points away easily like we did."

France play England at home next, then host Wales in the final game, with the Welsh side aiming for a Grand Slam, depending on what happens in their next fixture against Italy.

Ireland, having just one win under their belt from three Six Nations outings this year, host Scotland next weekend, then travel to Twickenham to face England.

Below are quick highlights from the game, featuring the tries and a late drop goal attempt.

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:25 pm | View Comments (59)

No date confirmed yet for postponed Six Nations game

Viewing 59 comments

Pretzel March 04, 2012 8:57 pm

Wow. I don't really know what to say about that game. Congratulations to France for the draw, however I felt it was handed to them through the huge penalty count Ireland had...

I'm not sure I'd say Ireland were better than France but they definitely got the upper hand early on through the tries and to hand the game back via penalties is outrageous.

Fofana (spelling?) did well to get his 3rd try on his 3rd cap. I would like to see how much more useful he becomes in the future.

Anyone catch the man of the match? I didn't see any after match chatting. I can't say anyone really stood out. Bowe with his tries, Kearney with his catching skills, on the French side, Harinordoquay (again spelling?) seemed to play quite well, and then Fofana got the try. :/

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themull March 04, 2012 9:16 pm

I believe Bowe got MOTH...IMO Ferris, kearney or Sexton would have been more worthy of it on the day..For the French, Hari or Dusotoir maybe...

Ireland have only themselves to blame for not putting this match away with all the pressure they had early in the second half...Very poor line out play cost them dearly numerous times and towards the end idiotic play on the sideline gave the French posession whereas if the Irish runners had have turned infield we woulda have kept the ball and been on the front foot..

France kept the ball extremely well and really should have gotten the drop goal from the two chances they were given...Superb Irish defence was made seem all that better because of those two poor attempts...

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Pretzel March 04, 2012 10:06 pm

That is what shocked me so much, the Irish managed to give away half a ton of penalties throughout the game but when it came to those last few minutes and that MASSIVE pressure that France put them under they kept their cool and didn't give up any penalties. So it's not like it is impossible for a team to get out of that danger area within their half...

I wonder if France would have won if Trinh-Duc had been on, well, would have got one of those drop goals?

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brecor March 06, 2012 12:38 am

It was Maestri that French TV gave the MOTM. Strange decision as POC outplayed both French locks.

Pearson had a terrible day. Not giving Healy or D'arcy a yellow and then giving France two penalties when they should've went Ireland's way. In fairness he doesn't have the luxury of TV replays but he has consistently performed too poorly to be an international ref.

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mise March 04, 2012 9:22 pm

@pretzel: bowe got it, thou I thought Kearney deserved it. Kicking, catching and running all excellent. His catching was his best since Lions 09, (which was one of the best catching displays really!)

The game made a good case for extra time in 6N, as neither wanted a draw, and sometimes, in tournaments, draws are useful. (it could also do with bonus points, the 6N)

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Owen March 05, 2012 12:01 am

the issue with bonus points in the 6N is that a team can win the grand slam but not the title due to bonus points so imo it wouldnt be the best idea

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 8:32 pm

I think if there was going to be any kind of restructuring in the 6N then it would have to just be extra time leading onto kicks at goal like the knockout stage matches.

I think the bonus points would cause problems as Owen has pointed out.

I am not too bothered by draws personally... I think it adds another dimension, but really I have never thought too much into it...

Would be interesting to see 2 teams have the exact same number of points and point differences, I wonder what would happen then. (I may have heard something a while back talking about penalties or number of cards being a determining factor. No idea if that is true..)

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brecor March 06, 2012 12:43 am

The 6Nations is already unfair in the way that some teams play 3 home games, others play 2. The introduction of the bonus point system would make the competition even more unfair as it is not a Round-Robin system.

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Pretzel March 06, 2012 1:28 am

Well they could extend it so that each team plays each other twice :) that could be fun...

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brecor March 06, 2012 1:33 am

Would love to see it happen Pretzel but that would require the domestic leagues shortening their season as the calender is pretty full. The French Federation has already kicked up a huge fuss about the rescheduling of the French/Irish game. Can't see it happening soon though.

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TJ-Hooker March 04, 2012 9:33 pm

tommy bowe got man of the match , kearney was in the mix aswell,great kick and chase and counter attacking . j.sexton play a solid game and stephen ferris .Ireland , Play a good 1st half, average in the 2nd .TOo many simple mistake , even with the rain , pouring down.
Line-out was poor, considering how good rory best , have been playing for the past 18 months .disappointing we (Ireland) didn't put points on the board, in the 2nd half. The french were coming good , right up to the final whistle.
A draw was about right for both teams , but both teams , will feel that , victory was there for the taking. All that is left to play is pride , for the rest of the 6 nations.
Time to give new blood a change against scotland, and rest up , for the england game on paddy weekend .

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Fettsack March 04, 2012 9:56 pm

I think Ireland played a good overall game but this draw is the result of France giving points away, not using the space they created and not putting enough effort in the rucks. How many times were french forwards isolated from support: too many!
Their comeback is a minimum to nearly save a very disappointing performance.
Ireland was the better team on the pitch today because they put more effort into it.

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mcquickscopez March 05, 2012 12:13 am

it says irelands title aspirations are over but if france and wales lose next weekend then france beat or draw with wales . and irelnd beat england and scotland they would have won as many games as wales and france? possibly winning on points difference

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 12:33 am

I can't say I have checked the table just recently, but anything is possible, I remember a few years back I think Wales had the possibility of a Grand Slam then lost their final game to England?!? (maybe) and ended up in 4th place...

So if you're an Ireland supporter don't give up just yet, there may be a slight chance, although as I said before don't quote me on that as I haven't checked the tables... :)

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Reality March 05, 2012 2:34 am

Do you really trust Italy that much to go to Wales and win? I think if that happened hell would freeze over. Although I hope it does.

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Sankeor March 05, 2012 12:43 am

Here is how I see this game:

1st half
- France made absolut beginner errors, especially with the stupid loose passes, and time to time with a lack of support on rucks. Plus individual defensive mistakes. Moreover I still don't understand the choice to take the penalty instead of taking the scrum in front of the irish scoreline, which would have lead most probably to a try or a penalty try. I couldn't stand what I saw. But still, they had the possession, excellent scrums and lineouts, and they were winning most of contests.
- Ireland had less opportunities but benefitted from the french side mistakes and then lack of commitment on rucks in the end of the half. In my opinion the aerial style of play they intended to set up failed, as french players caught perfectly the vast majority of the up and unders. They still had a big advantage on rucks with a very well organized defense and a special ability to disturb the exit of the ball in the rucks and avoid being penalized. Of course Tommy Bow is excellent but I mean to make an overall analysis.

2nd half
-France increased their possession of the ball, corrected defensive mistakes and stopped making stupid loose passes. As rain started to fall they developped a ground game with their forwards, and it worked pretty well (and imo they should have done that from the beginning).
-Ireland had nearly no balls to use, and accentuated their "their special ability" to disturb the exit of the ball in rucks. Honestly that was a foul play, even more than England few years ago... special mention to Cian Healy. As France came back to the score they had to improve their discipline and Healy logically left the field during a phase of pressure, before something horrible happen for Ireland. A mere miracle he was not yellow carded once or twice during the whole game, imo. Very clever to let both Sexton and O'Gara play in the end, but of course without the ball it's hard to kick it.

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Reality March 05, 2012 2:31 am

Are you actually serious? You make it sound like Ireland were absolutely crap and didn't lose only because of divine intervention.

First of all, that 'penalty try' that France definitely would have gotten if they had taken a scrum. Did you not notice that the Irish scrum was as good as, if not better than the French one? How many penalties did France get from scrums in the match? 1?Secondly, Ireland tried to play an aerial game and failed because the French catchers were too good? Rob Kearney gave the French players a lesson in how to catch, and anyway did you not notice that Trinh Duc kicked about twenty up and unders during the match? And what contests were France winning? Their lineouts were more successful, but they were obviously losing the breakdown battle, were unable to get quick ball, and were losing on points.

France were obviously better in the second half, but to say Ireland were only in it because they were cheating is just outrageous. Dave Pearson was acting like Craig Joubert in the WC final, that is, unwilling to penalise the home team. France were doing anything they wanted and getting away with it. Their mauls were so illegal. They just got people to obstruct the ball-carrier before he was tackled which is illegal. In the rucks as well they kept falling onto the Irish side and not moving, but Pearson did nothing about it. I'm not saying Ireland were angels, and Healy definitely should have been yellow carded, but to say Ireland were cheats and France weren't is just completely false.

In summary, Ireland were far better in the first half, in the second half France were the better team, and the referee was quite 'generous' let's say to both teams.

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Sankeor March 05, 2012 4:14 pm

Wow wow... I might have reacted in the heat of the moment, but never wrote that the irish side was crap. I think that none of the teams, at least in offense, were really dangerous in the 1st half. Irish side was actually very dangerous in defense (but I don't consider it as "outstanding" since opportunities came from french mistakes). In the second half both teams were dangerous but France had more possession.
Rob Kearney did "robbed" a nice up&under kicked from his side, but I don't remember him catching other interesting high balls, so I wouldn't say that was a lesson. Harinordoquy did as well for the french side, and he's not a fullback.
In the second half particularly, it's well known that the defending team always has a higher tendency to make faults and give away penalties. Note that in mauls it's allowed to walk in front or next to the ball carrier, as long as you're fully bound to him wth an arm. Actually the gold rule in mauls is to pass the ball to the guy behind, so there's always somebody in front of the ball carrier so that the ball couldn't be ripped off. It's not illegal. Same thing for charges, still possible. Didn't notice anything wrong on rucks from the french side. Though I noticed frequently that the ball mysteriously leaped away from the ruck when Ireland was defending. For me that means everything, and it's objective.

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Reality March 05, 2012 5:03 pm

I mean that in a maul, the ball-carrier has to be tackled, and only then the maul forms. So if someone blocks him before he's tackled, then it's obstruction, which is illegal, and which is what the French team did very often. The French lifters seemed to be leading the mauls after lineouts, whereas it should have been the jumpers. Although having said that, France are not the only team to do this. Referees never penalise any team for it.

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Keith March 05, 2012 3:15 am

Was it just me or was Dave Pearson completely biased towards France especially in the 1st half?

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 3:41 am

Actually it seemed he was favoring Ireland in the first half. At least that was the impression I got. Either way, a pretty poor refereeing performance.

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franz March 05, 2012 9:46 am

I think it's just you :)

no offense but pearson was extremely clement with irish "skills" in the rucks.

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Yorffeo March 05, 2012 11:02 am

Agree with Franz
Not to mention the definite yellow the offside irish player should have received for killing and attacking position.
I was honnestly quite lost with his refereeing...
(ending the 1st half 40 seconds before the 40 minutes mark waz verry odd to me...)

I think second half was better from the referee.

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stroudos March 05, 2012 11:54 am

Another problem with Pearson is he smiles too much. Looks like he's taking the piss. Doesn't seem to bother the pros and of course it shouldn't, but it would fucking wind me up to see the ref grinning sarcastically every time he awarded a penalty against my team!

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 2:55 pm

That proves my point. It was clearly a yellow card for Cian Healy and yet the ref didn't give it as he was rather more biased towards Ireland. Had he been favoring France, he would have carded Healy no problem.

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 2:01 pm

Fair enough. I was merely going on what the BBC panel said. But either way, like I said, a pretty poor referreeing display

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brecor March 06, 2012 1:01 am

It wasn't you Keith. Pearson, like Joubert in the WC final, decided to only officiate one team in the 2nd half. France also got 6 points from his wrong decisions - the highlight being penalising Healy when he was on his feet trying to get the ball while the French grounded player was holding on - Pearson incredibly interpreted the situation as Healy not letting go of the tackled player.

Not only this but he was hugely inconsistent with the offside rule. Every ruck he'd shout at the Irish defensive line about being behind the last foot in the 2nd half- think he penalised us on 3 occasions for this. Problem is he completely ignored the French offsides.

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Keith March 05, 2012 3:27 am

Nope, looks like Kidney agrees with me at least

The former Munster coach has not raised the issue with any officials, but hinted that Pearson's superiors should take a close look at his performance.

He said: "We'll control what is within our control and hope to God that somebody who is in control on the other side will take a good look at that."

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stroudos March 05, 2012 11:55 am

That's hardly proof!

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brecor March 06, 2012 1:07 am

It has surprised me because Kidney never makes a bad comment about refs even if he feels there is bias...but on this occasion I have to agree with him. Pearson completely lost control in the 2nd half, giving penalties for reasons that were incredibly inaccurate, his officiating of only one side with the offside rule and his inconsistency at the breakdown. Unfortunately he made a lot of wrong calls that will only further damage his tarnished reputation.

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 3:28 am

Well I thought it was a very entertaining game. I felt a draw was a fair result based on how well the teams played and for how long. I didn't feel that Ireland were amazing in the first half, they just had the first try handed to them. They did play better than France in the first half but that was not too hard as France were utterly useless. I thought Ireland did have more good individual performances but otherwise, they never really looked that threatening. A good turn over at the end of the half and of course the intercept but otherwise, didn't feel they could do enough to really challenge the French defense which defiantly showed in the second half as they were unable to register a point.
France were useless for most of the first half but showed glimpses of what we know they can do. they then took control of the second half and did well to pull back and get the draw. I feel they should be annoyed for missing out on a win but then again, Ireland can feel the same as they should have closed out the game.

My overall point is that Ireland looked a lot better in the first half due to the horrific errors of the French rather than their own brilliance. (Mostly. There were very good moments from Ireland especially Kearney and Bowe.) But when France switched on, they looked a lot more dangerous even when Ireland didn't look bad.

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 3:34 am

Also, I have it on good authority that Johan Meisry was Man of the Match. (I may have spelt his name wrong but I am referring to the French lock)

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Sankeor March 05, 2012 4:21 pm

Yoann Maestri (Toulouse)

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 4:57 pm

Yup that's the one. Cheers

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Sankeor March 05, 2012 4:21 pm

Yoann Maestri (Toulouse)

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breakaway March 05, 2012 3:54 am

Gotta say that I love the photo at the top, it gets something of the essence of tight forward play that hasn't changed since William Webb Ellis's day. And is the ref on the far right pointing and saying something like, "careful lads, I'm watching"?

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stroudos March 05, 2012 12:17 pm

Looks to me like the ref's going in for a gouge on Bonnaire!

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Toulousain March 05, 2012 9:35 am

I guess you mean Yoann Maestri. He got the man of the match award by the french TV, but if i have to be honest and even if i'm french, I have to say Kearney or Bowe deserved it more.

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Tullowtank March 05, 2012 10:56 am

First of all, this was a great game of rugby. Very entertaining with some moments of magic (Bowe's 2nd try, numerous bits of wonderful fullback play from Kearney and a bit of french flair from poitrenaud and that off-load by Trin-Duc in the 1st half). Ireland I do think are the ones to feel like they lost this match. To not score a point in the 2nd half was awful, the line-out is what lost them the match. If you cannot secure set-piece ball its very difficult. Why on a wet day with a poorly functioning line-out throw it to the back when on the 5 metre line? Ireland were camped in french period for a good 10 minutes of the 2nd half and should have come away with something.

I do have to say i did not think Pearson did Ireland many favours, numerous blatant penalities were clear to see and he never game them to Ireland, I felt he had a similarly poor performance last year in the Aviva when we played the French.

Ferris deserves a special mention for another stand out game, Heaslip continues to show he's the best Irish back-row player on the deck, why nobody has ever thought to swtich him to 7 and put O'Brien at 8 I do not understand! Sexton's defensive work was incredible, he really showed why we cannot play O'Gara at 10, his poor physical attributes would be shown up now more than ever.

Well done France though for battling back into it, showed real guts, determination and leadership. I think BOD's leadership is what Ireland have missed the most this campaign, he is of course past his best but can still come up with moments of magic but I feel if Ireland had him on the pitch for the last 10 minutes against Wales and the French we would be sitting pretty with 3 wins from 3.

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Huh!! the 3rd March 05, 2012 1:35 pm


I've been saying it for at least 1 year by now. Heaslip doesn't have that explosiveness off the back of the scrum that we need. O'Brien has been figured out at 7, but at 8 he'd have more time to accelerate, while Heaslip is the closest of the 3 to an actual 7,. I can't believe it hasn't been tried yet. Even O'Sullivan swapped Wallace and Heaslip around for attacking scrums a few times in the 08 6N.

I also think Ferris needs a break vs Scotland. He's done well to last 3 high intensity games with his terrible knees. I'd rather have him for England away than at home to Scotland. Bring O'Mahony into 7, and move O'Brien across to 6 (prefer 8, but it probably won't happen).

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Ruggernut March 05, 2012 5:00 pm

Or O'Mahony 6, Heaslip 7, O'Brien 8. O'Mahony can play 6 and has done for Munster a lot.

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Colombes March 05, 2012 10:59 am

don't really know what to retain of that match
ferocious defences, very weird actions, some beginners mistakes, clumsy players because of the wet weather conditions? whatever, both teams had their 40 minutes.

Ireland was not far to snatch it. i had say that they should play like england to wish a victory. it was not so far from the reality :) they defended very well in the 1st half and didn't allow France to develop their game and they were absolurely lethal on their 2 semi-occasions: interception and a smart kick&chase counter-attack. but penalties really costed them. ferris and o'brien are always at the very-limit of the foul in every rucks, and u could see that POC wasn't happy of this indiscipline. they could also be relieved to escape 2 sin-bins for healy and darcy for 2 blatant technical fouls.

France was completly shit in the 1st half: very previsible, no intention, the forwards weren't present in the rucks and they let irishs score them 2 easy tries: Rougerie didn't look where he passed and Poitrenaud anticipated the tackle on Bowe on the 2nd try... in the 2nd half, they concentrated themselves on what could work when u are in a "bad day": the scrum, pick&go and drop goal. and it nearly worked. fofana spirit can show the way for the next games.

i don't blame this french team for not playing a dream rugby, as it's a new coach and the conditions didn't allow open game, but i'm sure st-andré wasn't pleased by what he saw. i bet he will manage these 2 last weeks as he had lost this game. the answer will may appear vs england and wales

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Oliver March 05, 2012 11:25 am

my point of view as a (clearly) French supporter:

- overall the result seems pretty fair to me. both teams showed good and bad stuff.

- bit of Irish luck though, IMO, taking the lead early on with that intercept.

- very impressed by Irish defence and combat spirit, as well as Bowes's 2nd try

- irish complaints about the refereeing are pretty ridiculous considering what they got away with (Cian Healy COME ON!).

- as French backs could not get past that defense, maybe some short-distance kicking would have helped? Clerc is especially good at scoring tries like that...

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stroudos March 05, 2012 12:00 pm

I'm still trying to work out why I thought it was a good idea to swap Tommy Bowe out of my fantasy team... Probably the worst tactical decision since Beauxis's drop-goal attempt.

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stroudos March 05, 2012 12:16 pm

Highlight of the game for me was Rob Kearney's kick & chase throughout the match. Absolutely incredible how he manages to beat the others to the high ball so consistently. Haven't seen such a dominant performance since Kearney's in the 09 lions tour.

My understanding is he honed his aerial ability playing gaelic football when he was younger. If that's the case, I reckon a season in the GAA should be compulsory for all up-and-coming fullbacks!

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Huh!! the 3rd March 05, 2012 1:42 pm

Yeah stroudos,

Every position on a gaelic team is akin to a fullback and most Irish 15s have a GAA background (Dempsey, Murphy, Duffy, Bowe, etc) aswell as Keith Wood who was a gifted underage GAA player.

Little known fact, Zinzan Brooke, 1 of the best back rows to have ever played, played gaelic football growing up in Auckland. Thats where he devoloped his incredible skills including how to drop a goal((hate to bring that up English fans), and why he could virtually play in most positions.

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brecor March 06, 2012 1:17 am

90% of Irish sportsmen start out at GAA

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stroudos March 05, 2012 5:56 pm

Just spotted a typo in the RD intro: "Below are quick highlights from the game, featuring the tries and a late drop goal attempt."

Surely that should say "a lame drop goal attempt"?!?

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Paul Beerhorst March 05, 2012 6:12 pm

Where can i get the full highlights?

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dave March 05, 2012 8:16 pm

despite the lack of a winner, I really enjoyed watching this game

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mise March 05, 2012 11:20 pm

@huh... shane horgan and tomas o leary too for the GAA background (recent irish players, and with the injury to Murray, looks like O leary will be back in the squad)

Not sure i'd say most have a GAA background, though many do and it does help with 'fielding' ie catching high balls, for sure.

But wtf will ireland do without o connell?? he has been back to his best, and they kinda need him against that Scottish 2nd row...

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Huh!! the 3rd March 06, 2012 1:13 am


What about O'Connell????? I'm in the mines in Aussieland and this is news to me. And I'd say Boss is ahead of O'Leary anyway.

I was also just pointing out 15s, bar Wood and Brook, and Horgan sucked anyway so I'd ignore his GAA contribution (can't even kick a rugby ball without massive luck on his part).

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Pretzel March 06, 2012 1:31 am

O'Connell has a knee injury apparently. Ruled out for the rest of the 6N.

I didn't notice during the game, so maybe it developed afterwards or something.

Not good news for Ireland, although Ryan isn't exactly a bad replacement. Not POC, but not bad...

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mise March 06, 2012 1:49 am

@huh yep he's out for the rest of the tournament alright. Bit of an iron man, he didn't even notice his injury til after the game...

Its more that the bench is depleted now Pretzel: that, coupled with kidney's conservative nature means we're going to be short come 60 mins.

(conservatism: e.g tom hayes is nowhere near getting a look in - not even for the wolfhounds. Like Mike Ross when he was at quins)

@huh: shaggy wasn't our best back, but he wasn't all bad (!)

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Pretzel March 06, 2012 5:38 am

What happened to Mick O'Driscoll?

.....He says with the power of the internet at his fingertips but with no motivation to search himself...

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mise March 06, 2012 2:01 am

that's a great pic alright: i remember that headlock o connell was in - it went on for ages

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The LD March 06, 2012 6:11 pm

Pearson was horrid. Cian Healy absolutely should have been yellow carded, unbelievable Pearson was unwilling to make that call. He just isn't up to international standard. Slow to make a decision and unwilling to make a big call.

From Gerry Thornley in today's Irishtimes:

"For the 55 minutes from the 24th to the 79th minutes, Pearson’s penalty count was eight-nil to the home team."

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Munsterfan March 07, 2012 12:01 pm

Suggestion for your Friday Funnies section could be Tommy Bowe getting hit on the head when the ball bounces off the posts!

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