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Sunday Feb 15, 2015

Ireland hang on against France to stay on track for title defence

Ireland hang on against France to stay on track for title defence
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Ireland are well placed overall following their 18-11 Six Nations win over France in Dublin on Saturday. Their ninth successive Test victory is their second tournament win, placing them in good stead for a Championship defence.

Jonathan Sexton, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip all made returns to Test rugby after injury layoffs, with flyhalf Sexton himself coming back after a 12-week absence due to multiple concussions in recent times.

Unfortunately he ended up taking another big knock, clashing heads with Mathieu Bastareaud. 

Bloodied, Sexton left the field but returned and ended up being Ireland’s top points scorer, Man of the Match with 15 of the 18 points coming from his boot. There were concerns over his condition but he has said it wasn’t anything to worry about.

“It was just a glancing blow. I just needed a couple of stitches but I felt fine after it,” he said.

France scored a try through Romain Taofifenua with ten minutes left in the match, but the Ireland defence held firm, and kept out impressive scrumhalf replacement Morgan Parra too.

“That’s a very good French team,” said Sexton of their late effort. “We made it hard for ourselves as usual and we dug deep at the end.

“We’re delighted [with the win]. We’ve got a lot to improve on and we’ve got a big match here in two weeks against England.” 

England and Ireland are one and two overall with the same points ahead of their meeting in Dublin on March 1st. England have a slightly better points difference so occupy the number one spot.



View more Six Nations highlights and clips in the Video Hub

19 Comments

  • 11:52 AM 18/02/2015

    I don't consider myself to be a particularly hard bastard (I'm only a back like) but I've played through cracked ribs on 3 occasions, for the simple reason that thanks to adrenaline and whatnot, they didn't feel broken, just like a bad knock. I agree on your comparison, I'd go so far as to say his kneeing McCaw in the head was worse, whatever the reason on otherwise exemplary record. I wasn't aware of Pape's name for being dirty, he's just a second row. :)

    Reply
  • 11:48 AM 18/02/2015

    Heaslip was hanging on after entering the maul through the gate, I don't think they were quite on the try line either

    Reply
  • danknapp
    8:43 AM 18/02/2015

    Go back to wine-making, philosophy, novel writing, cheese crafting, love-making and enjoyment of life. Leave the bitching and moaning to us English speakers.

    Reply
  • reality
    6:09 PM 17/02/2015

    Well, you were right. He doesn't have broken vertebrae, just fractured vertebrae, and will only be out injured for four weeks. Maybe Pape is a nice guy after all.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    2:52 PM 17/02/2015

    Call me a cynic, but Sexton recently returning from concussions, and immediately head clashed seems like a bit too much of a coincidence.

    Reply
  • dextron100
    5:20 AM 17/02/2015

    @mate, 'sexton should tackle lower'? If you watch the video again you'll notice it was sexton who was running with the ball when Bastareaud did that to him. I'm not certain it was a headbutt, but the fact Basta looks to have deliberately left his own head upright directly into the path of sextons face might suggest so. When a tackle is made high, usually the tackler will bow his head or even crouch a little. Basta was totally upright. Either way he was reckless, probably more so than usual after everyone hyping him up to smash sexton before the game.

    Reply
  • 1:23 AM 17/02/2015

    That's a great site, lots of posts, eh RD

    Reply
  • kadova
    10:03 PM 16/02/2015

    For all the Frenchies out there, and all the people who can read French, go to www.lerugbynistere.fr , and if you like having fun to www.boucherie-ovalie.org One webmaster from Le Rugbynistere is a rugby referee playing at Federale 1 level and the other one is a rugby player. Lots of guys and gals commenting there are players.

    Reply
  • frenchie
    9:49 PM 16/02/2015

    Ireland have a great coach! France have an average coach (to say the least): St Andre didn't make the good choices in his starting 15 and I'm not sure what coaching he's doing. Hopefully what we've seen in the 2nd half will be seen earlier on for the next game. They pushed Ireland to their limits and should have closed the match even more. All the stats are good at the end of the game. The French players are good but not ready, they're far behind Ireland in terms of quality of play. They need to work harder. Parra and Dulin (full back) need to start. Kicking game needs to improve, substitutions need to happen quicker. Big question mark on Fofana and Dussautoir for me: I love Fofana but he's been poor. Dussautpir is not the guy is used to be. I'd love to see Nakaitaci, Picamoles, Lamerat on the pitch. Pape will not be back in the French team and we won't miss him. Ireland have been tested. I can't wait to see them play against England!

    Reply
  • 7:13 PM 16/02/2015

    Ireland have Sexton, Wales have Halfpenny, France and Italy need a kicker. Parra is a great kicker, and I don't think he's even kicking for Clermont nowadays?! WTF! The french passing was shite. Mainly behind players, which loses all momentum. I would like to see Fickou back in the squad. And Fofana do something, as said above, he has been a bit shy. Not to sure on Bastareaud (for the future) (as guscott said... You can't beat pace, and I've always thought Fickou and Fofana would be the centres for the future for France) but Bastareaud seems to be the only players who is going past the gain line on every carry. And seen as the french passing is shite, it's lucky Basta is there, so people can go...shit give it to him quick. I watched the match in an irish pub in france and heard some people saying "basta head butted sexton" ..bollocks sexton should just tackle lower :D

    Reply
  • reality
    7:10 PM 16/02/2015

    Are you joking? Lashing out a the cheating player isn't to be condoned but at least it makes sense. Pape kneeing an innocent player in the back and breaking his vertebrae is almost comparable to Callum Clarke breaking Rob Hawkins' arm - it's just pointless and unjustified. Anyway, Heaslip was red carded (Pape wasn't) and then was rightly banned. If Heaslip was banned for that then Pape should too. Plus, Heaslip has a stellar disciplinary record aside from that incident. Pape is (evidently rightly) known for being a dirty thug.

    Reply
  • felipeg
    3:07 PM 16/02/2015

    He 's a classy player no doubt but he is one of the few who s been untouchable for the last couple of years. and lately he seems... absent. Not focused. Idk...not at the right place at the right time. I like Fofana but he 's quiet bad lately. Basta = the opposite :-) He is in great shape but i don't like him. I remember clearly an action when he tries to pass to Fofana who is... 2m ahead of him. Can't blame Bast for not being able to pass Mermoz is a riddle to me. They say he is the best in Top14. But with les Bleus he never did anything near good. Not so long ago we lacked a good lock, no their is maybe too many possibilities. Seeing Tales at another position was intersting. Maybe its the solution, have them all playing at the same time! FTD, Lopez, Parra, Tales, Plisson, Kockott, Tillous-Borde, Doussain, Michalak, Machenaud... no more 3/4, only halves! :-) You can almost make a complete XV out of french locks! I miss Picamoles :-(

    Reply
  • colombes
    2:30 PM 16/02/2015

    I'm kind of groupie of wesley... though, i agree he seemed a bit shy in his runs. His early ko isn't stranger to that. Such like Basta, nobody he's untouchable Dumoulin, chavancy, fickou or mermoz could may appear in the last 3 matchs.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:37 PM 16/02/2015

    Articulate, balanced, unbiased, well thought-out and sensible comments from all the French posters on here so far. As always. God, you lot are boring!! ;)

    Reply
  • felipeg
    12:35 PM 16/02/2015

    France a far better side...for the last 20 min. The stats are crazy. Before those last 20 min, it was like 65% possession and territory for Ireland, and at the end of the game it's 55% for France. Not sure that the link was the major issue of this game. Every french player seems to have lost the ball at least once on the field. This is not Kockott's doing. Even if I agree he shouldn't be there (and not for so called patriotic reason) Para-Lopez seems pretty obvious indeed. Pape out, agreed. Bastareaud's head clash on Sexton made me think of Carlos' song "Big Bisous" :-) What do you think of Fofana? I wonder...maybe it would do him good to start on the bench once. Speaking of wich, the bench was really convincing.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:34 PM 16/02/2015

    Oliver - best bit on your video is around 1:23 - check out Mealamu winding up a big upper-cut!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    12:30 PM 16/02/2015

    Fair point! Although I would make a distinction between lashing out in desperation as a bloke illegally kills your attacking ball right on the try line versus randomly running into a bloke in a maul. I didn't see the whole match - had they had words earlier? (Not that that would excuse it, just don't get what Pape was thinking).

    Reply
  • 10:58 AM 16/02/2015

    Sexton was kicking so deftly, I thought for a second ROG was out there. Sexton is looking to be a terrific leader for the Ireland squad. Agree with the above comments - when he wasn't on the pitch, it was obvious the boys lacked a bit of direction.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:16 AM 16/02/2015

    What kind of tosser runs in a maul and knees a bloke in the back? Not Pape's first act of sly thuggery is it. A pity, for such a big hard bastard to resort to cowardly blindside crap. Best's trip was equally mindless, but bloody stupid rather than dangerous.

    Reply


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