That’s the end of the coverage and the end of the Championship. England win and we move onto the Autumn International fixtures from next week. See you soon.
Johnny Sexton is very honest about his team’s efforts
“France took their opportunities very well while we weren’t ruthless enough or accurate enough. It’s going to be tough to look at over it over the rest of the week.”
Ireland pretty much stopped doing everything that worked in the first half from about minute 44 onwards. A large part of it was poor set piece making possession hard to hold onto, plus some missed tackles, but a lot of it was the French team finally putting together a sensible, quality phased game. When they have that, and you add in the sheer quality of Dupont and Ntamack, the game can be taken away from you. It’s genuinely exciting to see what this team is going to do.
This was the best game of the day, but still felt a little hollow. This year’s Championship can be put to bed now and the Trophy will be presented to England in closed society club with few people watching. Seems a fitting end.
Championship winning Owen Farrell is on the videolink.
“That game went around a bit, but glad it went our way. We all love being in camp and working hard and it feels like we’re just getting started and have a good blend of youth and experience to drive us forward.”
He hugely couldn’t be bothered with that interview. It hummed off the screen how much he’d rather be having a drink
FRANCE WIN! ENGLAND ARE SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONS!
France are congratulating each other and somewhere in Rome so are another squad.
TRY! France 35 – 27 Ireland (Stockdale)
80 mins. Ireland have one last go from the France 1o metre line. The ball comes left to Keenan who feeds it back inside to Stockdale who pirouettes out of the tackle to run in and score.
Ross Byrne converts.
78 mins. Ntamack runs it from his own in-goal, he makes 5 metres then Bamba has a go and makes half that before Serin decides enough is enough and clears.
76 mins. France are warming the hands with some slick offloading with Ollivon, and Dupont to the fore, but it’s eventually spilled and France are penalised for not rolling away.
Dupont has departed the stage, replaced by Baptiste Serin.
73 mins. This has been the best half of rugby France have played for a while. Sure, Ireland have helped by coughing up some possession, but in terms of a proper rugby structure it’s hard to remember when they last looked so smoothly and powerfully competent.
It very much looks like France’s game and England’s Championship at this point.
TRY! France 35 – 20 Ireland (Vakatawa)
71 mins. Stockdale is this close to breaking free of the France line on a run but as the daylight opens up he spills the ball as he attempts to transfer it in his arms. Gah!
From the scrum it comes to Ntamack who chips over the onrushing Ireland defence, gathers his own kick and calm as you like pops it left for Vakatawa to run in.
Ntamack adds the two.
68 mins. Ireland lose another one of their own lineouts but France cheaply kick it back only for Ireland to cough it up via a knock on. Some kick tennis breaks out before Ntamack overcooks one that allows Conway to dab it down in-goal for a 22 drop-out,
66 mins. From a lineout in the France 22, Ireland lose the possession in a very promising position, and Dupont box kicks it to safety in touch
Jamison Gibson-Park replaces Murray.
63 mins. We spend a long time setting a France scrum in the Ireland half, but the ball finally emerges and France attack up the left via Vakatawa. After a few carries more Ireland have the ball back for France sealing off.
TRY! France 28 – 20 Ireland (Robbie Henshaw)
59 mins. Tadgh Beirne wins a good penalty by clamping onto the ball as Vincent goes to ground. The France centre doesn’t reease and Ireland have the ball back on halfway. Robbie Henshaw has a daft run along the line but somehow finds himself free up the left touchline and he rounds Rattez to score under pressure from Dupont! He slipped four men to score that, incredible.
57 mins. Ireland throw a pass behind their own attack which Ollivon boots forward for himself and Fickou to chase. It pins Keenan back in his own corner but the Leinster wing does brilliantly to secure it under pressure the ball is cleared but only as far as the 22, from where France will have a lineout
55 mins. Ireland have some possession for the first time this half and they work it into a lineout in the France 22, which they then lose and France clear it.
France have changed their entire front row: Chat, Gros and Bamba are on.
PENALTY! France 28 – 13 Ireland (Ntamack)
52 mins. A huge carry from Alldritt right up the heart of the Irish defensive line sees France come right with the back to Cretin, lurking out wide and Porter is pinged for handling on the ground.
Ntamack indicates posts and strokes it through from out right. France need 16 more points to win the Championship, assuming Ireland don’t score any.
Basically, it’s looking like England’s championship more and more with every passing minute.
PENALTY! France 25 – 13 Ireland (Ntamack)
48 mins. From 35 metres or so, Romain makes no mistake.
47 mins. A horrible thing is happening here for Ireland: France look to be even more determined to win this sensibly and and setting up power runners short off good depth and it inching them forward. In the end Ireland infringe and it’s a penalty in boot range for Ntamack
TRY! France 22 – 13 Ireland (Ntamack)
44 mins. This is a belter. Bouthier claims a high kick on his own 10m line and goes left to Fickou who chips and chases over Doris. Fickou doesn’t get there but Dupont does and as he’s being tackled he gets the ball inside to Ntamack in support to score from five metres.
He fails to convert his own try.
42 mins. Ollivon claims the kick off well, but Ntamack is hurried with his clearance and Ireland are on the attack in the French half. Aki carries well again – they really need to get the ball in his hands more – and Ireland are up to 10 phases without really getting beyond the 10m line. Sexton tries a chip over, but Bouthier covers it and clears.
40 mins. Johnny Sexton kicks us back up and running.
The teams are on their way back out. Forty minutes until the Championship is decided.
It’s nicely set up for the closing half. Despite being behind Ireland should be pretty happy as they are the team showing more pattern and structure and even with a player in the bin late in the half they kept France within range.
France for their part have shown decent restraint. If this team are on a journey to being one of the best – and they have the talent to do so – then this is a game they need to approach to win sensibly. So far that appears to be the case and even if they lose today, that will hold them in better stead for their development than doing something completely daft.
This game is there for Ireland, and more of the same in the closing period should get them there. Having said that, if they spurn opportunities at points as they did with that last play, this could be a hearbreaker. I’m sure Andy Farrell is pointing that out right now.
HALF TIME! France 17 – 13 Ireland
Ntamack chips the ball out and brings the opening forty to an end.
43 mins. Ireland nearly get a maul going from the tail but France rally round to stop it. The ball comes left to Doris who is back on the field from the bin, and he sets up more drives that France are repelling and managing to stay onside. Eventually Ireland are off their feet at the breakdown and France win a penalty.
That’s a very satisfactory defensive set by led Bleus
41 mins. Time is off while Ireland complete a scrum on the French 10m line. When we restart Ireland are again working sensible phases far into the French half and Alldritt handles in the ruck. Sexton sends the penalty to the corner and this half will keep going.
Cros is off injured, replaced by Dylan Cretin.
PENALTY! France 17 – 13 Ireland (Ntamack)
38 mins. The young France 10 caresses the ball over from 25 metres and extends the lead just before the break.
37 mins. Ireland are taking quite a while to set up for a France scrum. Farrell’s men are playing this sin-bin beautifully. But they can’t hold play up forever and from the scrum, while playing under an penalty advantage, Ntamack kicks a raking cross-kick to Fickou who brings the ball into the Irish 22. There’s more structured phases and it’s Ireland’s turn to be offside to allow France to kick for the posts.
PENALTY! France 14 – 13 Ireland (Sexton)
34 mins. The Irish captain takes all the time in the world then brings his team back within a point.
33 mins. Ireland must now play up to half-time with fourteen on the field. They start well by working it through phases and hands into the France half and up to the 22, where the French defence are inevitably offside and give a kickable penalty to Sexton.
PENALTY TRY! France 14 – 10 Ireland
30 mins. Wayne Barnes has no hesitation in giving the full seven pointer to France as Cros absolutely would’ve grounded if Doris handn’t leg tackled him without the ball