KSA Shark ©

Ireland take spoils in thriller

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news on 8 Feb 2009 at 07:25
Tagged with : , ,

Ireland recorded their first win over France since 2003 as they started their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 30-21 triumph at Croke Park.

Duncan Bech reports for PA Sport that Gordon D’Arcy’s try in the 66th minute finally paid to French resistance after the two teams had provided plenty of entertainment on the opening day of the tournament.

Jamie Heaslip and skipper Brian O’Driscoll also crossed for the home team, while fly-half Ronan O’Gara converted all three on his way to a personal haul of 15 points.

France threatened throughout to upset their hosts, though scores from Imanol Harinordoquy and Maxime Medard proved to be in a losing cause.

At least Marc Lievremont’s side can return home to ponder the positives in defeat, not least the performance of Lionel Beauxis in the problem position of fly half.

Ireland too have plenty to be happy about – their success ending a seven-match losing run to Les Bleus, including suffering last-minute heartache the last time they had met at Croke Park.

Once again there was little to choose between the two, the Irish holding the upper hand at the break by a 13-10 scoreline after a try apiece – France the first to get over.

Responding to O’Gara’s penalty that had broken the deadlock inside three minutes, the visitors threatened the line on several occasions before Harinordoquy finally found a way through.

The number eight accepted Julien Malzieu’s inside pass to cross in the corner to finish a move that had flowed from right to left, Beauxis adding the extras from a tight angle.

Foolishly the French gave three points straight back, an infringement from the re-start allowing O’Gara to make it 7-6, though he missed another shot at the posts soon after.

However, Heaslip’s try did put Declan Kidney’s troops ahead, the forward showing a fine turn of pace to cut down the middle before throwing an outrageous side step that gave him the time and space to beat Clement Poitrenaud to the line.

O’Gara converted but Beauxis’ long range drop goal with the final kick of the first half meant the game was firmly in the balance.

Despite the narrow deficit, Lievremont kept his players in the dressing room to give them a dressing down at the break, though his words appeared to fall on deaf ears as they conceded soon after the re-start.

Rolling back the years, O’Driscoll produced a moment of magic to break through the first line of defence before a step off the left foot fooling Malzieu and giving him an easy run-in next to the posts.

The extra two came from O’Gara’s boot but the number 10 was not so hot on his next kick, a weak effort leading to turnover ball that gave the French renewed hope.

Harinordoquy’s burst caught Ireland short of numbers and from the next phase Beauxis produced a superbly weighted kick to the corner that bounced beautifully for Medard to take and touch down without breaking stride.

The fly-half failed with the conversion but did not miss with a drop goal effort, making it 20-18 with 25 minutes still to play.

In the end Ireland held their nerve, though, replacement D’Arcy having enough strength to force his way over from close range to give his side some daylight. Beauxis and O’Gara traded late penalties to add further points at the end of an absorbing match – a fine advert for Northern hemisphere rugby.

Afterwards, O’Driscoll played down the win.

He said: “We’ve gained some momentum but while it’s France we’ve beaten and they’re top-class opposition, we shouldn’t get carried away.

“You can’t win a Six Nations in the first game but you can lose it in the first game. Essentially we’re where we want to be after one match.

“We’re happy with our performance and we’ll enjoy this win, but from tomorrow it’s all about Italy.”

Ireland coach Declan Kidney saluted his players.

“Any day you get the better of France is a great day to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s a privilege for us to be here,” he said.

Meanwhile, France coach Marc Lievremont blamed indiscipline for the outcome.

“I’m exceptionally disappointed. Both the players and coaches are frustrated because we had high hopes for this match,” he said.

“We wanted to start the Six Nations well. There was a lack of discipline, especially early on. I find it hard to explain.

“Ireland were always making us play catch-up rugby, which is difficult to do at Croke Park.

“We produced some good moves and kicked two drop-goals but made too many bad choices and didn’t finish our chances.

“We felt a sense of urgency because we were behind and they were able to break through our defence.

“Ireland are a very experienced team and they work together.”


  • Ireland take spoils in thriller :cool:

    And Superbru Spoils my weekend. :evil:

    Some guy joins our 6N pool and then resigns.
    Superbru don’t remove him completely and he just HAPPENS to pick the same score as me.

    Now I only get 0.5 for closest pick BP and I am not in the lead because of missing the 0.5 :evil:

    And his pick doesn’t even show up ANYWHERE it only affects my result and shows him at the top of the page on the round pick results graphic.

    We have a saying in Afrikaans. Hierdie ouens maak my tiet spiere lam. :grrrr:

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.02.09 07:35:57 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) :

    But it’s okay, Paarlbok and I have picked the same team and margin for today’s match so he won’t be able to pull ahead of me. :wink: :lol:

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.02.09 07:38:14 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Oh and once SB sort themselves out, that English Rose will be at the top of our Pool leader board. :razz:

    Swing Lowwwwwwww!!!!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.02.09 07:47:00 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 3) : You still supporting those murderous hooligans

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.02.09 13:30:33 by rahul Reply
    RahulCurrie Cup player
  • “Ireland are a very experienced team and they work together.” – ML

    Ugh..really? Well France would have an experienced team that could work together if he didn’t spend his entire first year as coach screwing around. I swear if this year’s 6Ns is as embarassing as last year’s 6Ns I hope France revolts and does something drastic like label ML a traitor to the flag and lock him away somewhere far away from the national team.

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.02.09 06:30:50 by Milissa (Expecting!! New Sharks Supporter due Aug '09) Reply
    MilissaVodacom Cup player
  • @rahul (Comment 4) :

    Aye, that I do.

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.02.09 06:39:06 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©Head Coach

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