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Sunday Feb 15, 2015

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

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.



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