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Bowe brace helps Ireland to draw

Ireland were denied a precious victory in Paris when France staged a second-half fightback that resulted in a tense RBS 6 Nations 17-17 stalemate.

Two tries from Tommy Bowe, who has now crossed 24 times in 47 games, including five times in this Six Nations, offered sight of a rare prize.

But centre Wesley Fofana pounced on a loose ball to touch down in the 51st minute, with the boot of scrum-half Morgan Parra doing the rest.

The brilliant Bowe snatched an intercept score from Aurelien Rougerie's loose pass before later completing a fine solo effort.

And with Jonathan Sexton kicking a penalty and two conversions Ireland established a 17-6 interval lead, but they were unable to score again.

Instead it was France who threatened, Fofana pouncing on a loose ball to touch down in the 51st minute and the boot of scrum-half Parra completing the job.

The outcome ends the prospect of a Grand Slam decider between Wales and France on March 17, while Ireland's title aspirations are now effectively over.

France were as poor in the first half as Ireland were magnificent, but a more aggressive Les Bleus emerged after the break, displaying greater urgency.

The rivals were originally scheduled to meet three weeks ago only for a frozen pitch to force referee Dave Pearson to postpone the contest 10 minutes before kick off.

And while the rearranged match was no classic, there was enough tension at the Stade de France to make it uncomfortable viewing for supporters.


From Belfast Telegraph