Ireland don’t normally find success when playing in Paris against France in the Six Nations, but Tommy Bowe and his two brilliant tries in the first half gave them hope of winning their first match there since 2000, but the French had an impressive and powerful first twenty minutes in the first half, pulling through to a 17-17 draw.
Still, a draw isn’t something to be sad about when visiting the French, who haven’t lost at home at the Six Nations since 2008 (England), and Ireland displayed an impressive and brave performance, which wasn’t enough to hold on to win, mostly due to a French resurgence in the second half. Wesley Fofana scored his third try in three caps, while Morgan Parra scored four penalties for France, missing a comfortable one in the first half and the conversion.
Jonathan Sexton did make both conversions and one penalty, but he missed one, which marred an overall fantastic display from the Leinster Fly Half, just one of a line of fantastic performances defensively by the Irish players, who kept things very tight and their speed and discipline in the first half was too much for France to handle, who moved the ball way to slow in their phases of possession.
Tommy Bowe got to work early and late during the first 40 minutes. He intercepted a poor pass to score the first try, and added some impressive individual ability by claiming the ball, kicking it and speeding ahead to score the second try, which gave Ireland a 17-6 lead as both sides went to half time.
The men in the booth were talking about what might be the French players talking about during their huddle before the second half. Whatever it was, it obviously worked, as France kept coming at the Irish players. Too many penalties conceded throughout the match (12-4 in France’s favor) and terrible line-out execution were another thing the Irish side would be disappointed about when watching the 80 minutes once again.
For France, the way Wales have been playing, a draw at home isn’t exactly the result they’ve been wishing for. France need to play the Welsh, who have already claimed the triple crown, and Warren Gatland’s side at the moment, especially at home, look like the favorites to complete the Grand Slam.
For Ireland, who would have probably taken the draw result prior to the match, it was a final nail in their title hopes due to a poor stretch in the second half, with ruining it for England looking like the only thing left to achieve in the 2012 campaign.