Ireland battled to a thrilling bonus-point victory in Dublin, increasing their chances of winning the Six Nations tournament and ending France’s streak of 14 successive victories.
Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, and Andrew Porter all crossed the goal line for Ireland’s three first-half tries.
France stayed in the game thanks to three Thomas Ramos penalties and a brilliant counterattacking try from Damian Penaud.
Ramos’ drop goal offset Ross Byrne’s penalty, but Garry Ringrose’s score gave Ireland the victory.
The victory further solidifies Ireland’s position as the best team in the world, giving Andy Farrell’s team a national record 13 consecutive home victories, and puts a stop to France’s hopes of completing a second straight Grand Slam.
Next victories over Wales and France with bonus points, Ireland will play Italy in Rome on February 25. The following day, France will host Scotland.
Relive Ireland’s dramatic victory over France.
In a breathless first half, title favorites play up to expectations.
The match on Saturday was billed as a monumental clash between the favorites for the championship, and it more than lived up to the expectations as the top two teams in the world put up an explosive first-half display.
Ramos’ penalty kick in the fifth minute gave France the advantage, but Ireland quickly regained the initiative. While Andrew Porter was disallowed a try in the opening attempt for the hosts, Finlay Bealham’s deception sent Keenan scything through before crashing over for a superb touchdown.
However, France ruthlessly exploited weaknesses in the Irish defense after a second Ramos penalty reduced Ireland’s advantage to one point. Anthony Jelonch surged through Irish defenders before passing to Penaud, who sprinted free to complete a remarkable counterattack.
While the majority of the crowd was still in awe of Penaud’s score, Ireland worked the ball out to Lowe, who acrobatically managed to touch the ball down in the corner despite Penaud’s attempts to knock him into touch. The try was upheld after a thorough TMO review.
Ireland trailed 13-12 after Sexton’s failed conversion attempt, but after Uini Atonio was cautioned for a high hit on Rob Herring, Porter scored Ireland’s third try to celebrate his 50th cap, and Sexton’s penalty put the hosts six points ahead at the end of a breathless first 40 minutes.
Ireland hold out until the iconic Ringrose settles
With his Irish teammates, Garry Ringrose rejoices.
Ireland defeated the current Grand Slam champions with a historic victory thanks to a magnificent fourth try from Garry Ringrose.
After a tremendous first half, tension built in after the break as the energy decreased and France started working to close the gap.
They were unable to gain forward, however, as Stuart McCloskey forced a turnover close to the try line, relieving the Irish defense of some of the pressure Ramos had been applying to them.
Following the forced substitution of Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, Byrne’s penalty put Ireland nine goals ahead before Ramos’ brilliant drop-goal brought France to within six.
While it brought France to within a converted try of victory, Ringrose miraculously managed to elude three French defenders and tap down to give Ireland the bonus-point victory after a championship match that will live long in the memory.
Farrell concludes the group.
Farrell had challenged his team to “take our game to them” after they were soundly defeated in Paris the year before, and the players delivered a performance that demonstrated Ireland’s bravery, skill, and championship credentials.
It also completes the set for Farrell, who, following victories over the superpowers of the southern hemisphere—New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia—during a memorable 2022—has now defeated all tier-one countries during his three and a half years as Ireland’s manager.
The victory on Saturday will give Ireland the psychological edge before a potential World Cup quarterfinal matchup on French turf later this year. Farrell had lost all three of their prior encounters.
That will happen later, though. As they get ready for matches in Italy and Scotland before hosting England on March 18, Ireland has maintained its chances of winning the Grand Slam for the fourth time in their history and will be thought of as heavy favorites to capture a maiden title since 2018.
Doris, the game’s MVP, competing against France
A noteworthy performer for Ireland once more was Caelan Doris.
Caelan Doris, the eighth-ranked player for Ireland, put on another outstanding performance. His impact on Andy Farrell’s team seems to be growing weekly.
They described Ireland’s performance as being “world-class,” with former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan saying as much on BBC Radio Ulster. When you are ranked number one in the world, it is expected that you will give a performance of the highest caliber. There were occasions when the number two team in the world was unable to defeat Ireland and gave up.
“Thomas Ramos attempting the drop-kick was the clear indication that they would not be able to defeat Ireland. Ireland excelled tactically, especially in the final quarter.
According to Chris Henry, a former flanker for Ireland, if this isn’t for a Grand Slam right now, it is a failure. They must continue and completely win this. The squad is prepared to do this.
Keenan, Ringrose, McCloskey, Lowe, Sexton, Murray, Herring, Bealham, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, and Doris are all from Ireland.
Kelleher, Kilcoyne, O’Toole, Henderson, Conan, Casey, Byrne, and Aki are the replacements.
Ramos, Penaud, Fickou, Moefana, Dumortier, Ntamack, Dupont, Baille, Marchand, Atonio, Flament, Willemse, Jelonch, Ollivon, Alldritt are some of the French names.
Barlot, Wardi, Falatea, Taofifenua, Cros, Macalou, Couilloud, and Jalibert are the replacements.
Wayne Barnes is the referee (RFU)
Jordan Way and Matthew Carley (RFU) are the assistant referees (RA)
Brendon Pickerill, TMO (NZR)