After being one of the best rugby players in the world, at least for one season, Frederic Michalak did almost everything wrong in the second consecutive draw between Ireland and France, while his mirroring fly-half, Paddy Jackson, did almost everything right but a brutal beating coming from the French was too much to overcome.
It’s hard to think of an Irish player who wasn’t treated at one point or another by the medical crew, not to mention being substituted. Ireland had a 13-3 lead at half time after a fantastic match from Jackson, Rob Kearney, Cian Healy and Sean O’Brien but when it came to securing the win in the second half, the physicality of the French side, which has already been mentioned once or twice during the tournament, even by the English side that beat them at Twickenham was enough to avoid the first defeat for the French in the 2013 tournament, although need Italy to lose to England while they need to beat Scotland on the final weekend to avoid the Wooden Spoon.
The moment the control of the French’s offense was given to Morgan Parra, not to mention the kicking (which wasn’t much better), it seemed the momentum changed. Big hit after big hit, and the entrance of Mathieu Bastareaud and the bruising display from Louis Picamoles in the second half, amid the boos from the big French crowd making its way to Dublin, France gained more territory and managed to push off the weary Irish, who simply ran out of players to play in their natural positions. Eventually, after both centres were taken off, Picamoles scored a try, which was almost immediately a minute later by Ireland, although a slight nudge with the shoulder saved the day.
Ireland could have gotten more from the match, but their not as good of a team that the French are, which can be made up with heart and effort, but not for too long. France had pride to play for and eventually got over whatever it was that held them back for the first 50 minutes and started playing like a side that knows it has a bit more talent and quality than their record shows. However it ends for them, the 2013 campaign was a complete failure, but winning their final match plus avoiding a loss at Dublin, while sorting out those good enough to go onward with is the most important thing left for them.