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France claim first win in Dublin in 10 years to condemn Ireland to back-to-back Six Nations defeats

 

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Ireland hooker Rob Herring is supported by team-mate Iain Henderson as he carries into Gregory Alldritt of France (Brian Lawless-Pool/Getty Images)

Ireland hooker Rob Herring is supported by team-mate Iain Henderson as he carries into Gregory Alldritt of France (Brian Lawless-Pool/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Ireland hooker Rob Herring is supported by team-mate Iain Henderson as he carries into Gregory Alldritt of France (Brian Lawless-Pool/Getty Images)

Ireland went agonisingly close to claiming their first win of the 2021 Six Nations, eventually going down 15-13 to France at the Aviva Stadium.

With so much a stake so early in the competition, there was cagey start on a grey and wet afternoon in the Irish capital.

Fly-half Billy Burns kicked Ireland into a 3-0 lead just past the 20-minute mark with a straightforward penalty.

Burns had earlier been well off target with another penalty, while opposing number 10 Matthieu Jalibert squandered one at the other end.

France were temporarily reduced to 14 men in the 24th minute when Bernard Le Roux was sin-binned for a deliberate trip on Keith Earls.

Ireland looked to have quickly seized on their numerical advantage, only for James Lowe's try to be ruled out.

The New Zealand-born wing crossed in the left corner but replays showed a combination of Brice Dulin and Gael Fickou managed to push him into touch before the ball was grounded.

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Despite their numerical disadvantage, France burst into life and went ahead courtesy of the first try of the afternoon.

Captain Charles Ollivon, the leading try scorer in the 2020 championship, was given freedom to cross wide on the left following a series of superb offloads.

Jalibert added the extras to give Les Bleus a 7-3 advantage.

A Jalibert penalty gave France a 10-3 half-time lead at a venue where they have not won since 2011.

Ireland suffered a triple blow early in the second period due to a succession of head injuries.

After Burns was forced for assessment to be replaced by Ross Byrne, stand-in skipper Iain Henderson and prop Cian Healy were left bloodied by a nasty clash of heads.

Ed Byrne and Ultan Dillane were the replacements in the Irish pack.

France took control of the contest in the 55th minute courtesy of a try from Damian Penaud.

Penaud, one of two men recalled following last weekend's win in Rome, dived over in the right corner, with Jalibert's failed conversion leaving the score at 15-3.

However, Les Bleus' advantage was swiftly reduced as replacement hooker Ronan Kelleher capitalised on a fortuitous bounce from a line-out to claim his maiden international try.

Ross Byrne's conversion left the score at 15-10 in the visitors' favour with just over 20 minutes to play.

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Belfast Telegraph


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