France On Top By Points Difference

February 15, 2021

Ireland 13-15 France

In the final fixture of the second round of matches, France managed their first win on Irish soil in a decade. Pointless for the first ten minutes, a penalty to France looked certain to get them on the scoreboard, but the difficult kick by Matthieu Jalibert drifted just wide of the mark. Billy Burns returned the favour 8 minutes later with a bad miss from his kick at goal, but 3 minutes later he puts Ireland in front with a better penalty kick.

When French lock Le Roux is given a yellow card for a trip, this was the chance that Ireland should take. A certain try opportunity for James Lowe on the wing was well defended and the TMO correctly saying ‘NO TRY’ thanks to some great defensive cover to help him into touch. This spurred the French to take the game back to the Irish after being penned in their own 22. Quick French hands saw a try from Ollivon with the conversion kicked. Jalibert then adding a penalty just before the half time whistle.


Ireland 3-10 France Half Time

With the majority of possession and 10 minutes playing with an extra man, Ireland failed to put more points on the board. This is where great teams punish opponents. Ireland still don’t seem to be hitting games with the ruthlessness they’ve done in recent years.

The second half was scoreless for the first 14 minutes until a lovely try by Penaud extended the French lead. James Lowe who missed two tackles last week against Wales, needed to make his count this time, but he was beaten by the sidestep. The 12 points difference would mean that the next score would be vital for either team. France to push on to win or the Irish to come back into the game. It was Irish replacement scrum-half Ronan Kelleher who conjured up something special 4 minutes later to pop over for a try. With Byrne adding the conversion, this was now back to a try difference at Ireland 10-15 France. Byrne added a penalty on the 64th minute to bring the game closer at 13-15.

71st minute and a French penalty awarded after Tadhg Beirne takes out Charles Ollivon in the air, sees Matthieu Jalibert’s kick come back off the upright.That was the final scoreline in a game where Ireland didn’t look their best and the French ground out a victory.


Final Thoughts

Ireland had the most territory and also possession: 59%-41% ( same stats for both ), they had 10 minutes with an extra man on the field and still couldn’t manage to overcome a determined French team.

Saturday 27th sees Wales entertain England, in a must win for Wales if they’re to push the French.  The following day Scotland are in Paris in a match that could prove important in deciding the outcome of the tournament.

Going into March we’ll either see France extend their lead at the top of the table, if they beat Scotland. Personally, I think France will win by 7 or more points. Wales would need to beat England convincingly and pick up bonus points to keep pace with France. Wales have the home advantage but they’ve limped home in their opening couple of games, both against teams who have had a player sent off. As bad as Englands’ discipline can be at times, I’d be stunned if they get a red card. I wonder what the bookies are offering for the odds on that though? I think that this will be a game England might just edge and they’ll do so by 5 points or under.


About the Author


Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required