Rory Best grabbed a try on what could be his final Six Nations appearance at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland defeated France 26-14 in the penultimate round of the 2019 Six Nations.

Despite there being only twelve points between the sides, Ireland were dominant in every facet of the game barring a switch off in the last ten minutes

Ireland took an early lead inside three minutes through a rolling maul with Rory Best popping up with the ball. While it was a well worked forward try, credit must also go to Jordan Larmour, whose kick put France under pressure and gave Ireland an attacking lineout in the French 22.

The hosts had the majority of the play in the opening 20 minutes and forced an inexperienced French side into playing inside their own 22m line which ultimately led to a second try.

A dominant maul got the squeeze on, before the Sexton-loop with Garry Ringrose, coupled with a Jordan Larmour dummy run allowed the World Player of the Year to cross for his first try since the 2015 World Cup. Larmour’s run turned the shoulders of Yoann Huget allowing for a gaping hole for Sexton to exploit.

Ringrose thought he had scored the third try after a Sexton Garryowen but the Leinsterman had knocked the ball on as he crossed the line, however it wasn’t long before the third try was scored. Iain Henderson ripped the ball from Demba Bamba and after Ireland excellently retained the ball for a number of phases, Jack Conan crashed over in the corner

Despite being three tries up at half time, Ireland had over 70% possession and territory. Slight inaccuracies let a poor French side off the hook on a number of occasions. France spent just five seconds of first half inside the Irish 22, presumably when Thomas Ramos had his try disallowed inside the first ten minutes.

From a French point of view, the start of the second half was an improvement; their defence pressured Ireland into mistakes while in attack they began to get more joy. Ireland were first on the score board however as Keith Earls secured the bonus point try after a great set piece play. Stander found his provincial team mate on the inside as he broke from the maul and Earls exploited the gaping hole to run in from the 22m line.

Ireland’s dominance resumed and they spent the next 20 minutes on the French line. They were unable to score any more points and allowed France two soft scores. Yoann Huget was the first before Camille Chat crossed on the final whistle.

Ireland were always comfortable in this match and I was surprised France didn’t ask a few more questions than they did. Ireland face an uphill battle to win the tournament as they take on Wales at the Principality Stadium as they need to defeat Wales and rely on results to go their way. To win the title Ireland need to defeat Wales and hope that England lose to Scotland at Twickenham in the following match.

An Irish title is not looking likely.

6.7 Performance

The word 'better' is best suited to describing Ireland's performance in the match. It wasn't bad but there is certainly room for improvement ahead of next week's match against Wales.
The Ulster contingent had a mixed affair with Best and Henderson putting in very good performances while Stockdale wasn't quite able to stamp his mark on the game. Joe was feeling generous as he gave John Cooney 22 minutes off the bench, bringing his total played in the Championship up to 28.
I've earmarked Garry Ringrose before and he is quickly becoming an important cog in Ireland's attack with another great performance.
Called in late for Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour put in a very good performance, playing a part in two Irish tries. He also recorded 79m off ten carries and eight defenders beaten.

  • Cian Healy 7
  • Rory Best 7
  • Tadhg Furlong 6
  • Iain Henderson 8
  • James Ryan 7
  • Peter O'Mahony 7
  • Josh vd Flier 7
  • CJ Stander 6
  • Conor Murray 6
  • Johnny Sexton 7
  • Jacob Stockdale 6
  • Bundee Aki 6
  • Garry Ringrose 8
  • Keith Earls 7
  • Jordan Larmour 8
  • Niall Scannell 6
  • Dave Kilcoyne 6
  • John Ryan 6
  • Ultan Dillane 7
  • Jack Conan 7
  • John Cooney 6
  • Jack Carty 7
  • Andrew Conway N/A
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0