French shatter Irish Grand Slam dream

13th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

DUBLIN, March 12 (AFP) - Two tries from Christophe Dominici left Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam hopes in tatters here on Saturday as France won 26-19.

DUBLIN, March 12 (AFP) - Two tries from Christophe Dominici left Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam hopes in tatters here on Saturday as France won 26-19.

His two tries and one from debutant Benoit Baby ended the hosts' hopes of emulating the feat of their 1948 compatriots as they scored one try through captain Brian O'Driscoll.

"We won a good game," said French coach Bernard Laporte. "We played against a good team - Ireland are one of the best in the world - and we are a young team building for the future, so we are very happy."

His Ireland counterpart Eddie O'Sullivan paid tribute to the French.

"They played so well in the first half winning the toss and then they gave us the wind and just held on to the football," he said.

"A lesser side would have crumbled, but our second half performance was excellent.

"When Brian scored, the game was there but that last French try was a killer. We didn't deserve that. France deserved their win but we could have won also. The margins are very tight at this level."

France made the first penetrating run as Yannick Jauzion fed Julien Laharrague and the pacy fullback should have gone on his own but instead chose to pass to the wing, unfortunately to Irishman Denis Hickie.

Yann Delaigue's tortured campaign reached a new low when he knocked on an easy catch and then had to go searching for his boot which he had lost on the other side of the pitch.

The hosts, though, settled after a rough opening five minutes and O'Gara slotted a penalty after Sebastien Bruno was penalised, though they were fortunate to get the points as Kevin Maggs had been fed a forward pass in the earlier move.

Happily for Delaigue boots and all this time he managed to drop an easy goal in front of the posts after the French pack had pushed their rivals all over the park.

Ireland camped for a while in the French half but it needed winger Girvan Dempsey to be out wide rather than lock Paul O'Connell to collect O'Gara's crosskick, the giant forward being brought down short of the line.

Delaigue blotted his copybook further when his high tackle on O'Driscoll resulted in Ireland retaking the lead as O'Gara converted the penalty to make it 6-3 after 18 minutes.

Yachvili levelled matters when Ireland were penalised two minutes later while O'Gara was unable to put the hosts back in front with a difficult kick a minute after that.

However, the American-born kicker made no mistake with a fabulous effort in the 26th minute to make it 9-6 and in the process become Ireland's leading points taker by a point over David Humphreys.

The French, though, went into the lead for the first-time as the half-hour approached with a splendid move as Jauzion fed Laharrague whose brilliant inside pass to Cedric Heymans left Kevin Maggs grasping at air and he offloaded to Dominici who brushed aside Hickie to touch down.

Yachvili failed to convert but he was successful a couple of minutes later as Baby broke through Maggs and Girvan Dempsey to run it in from halfway after Ireland had lost a lineout on the far side of the pitch with Yannick Nyanga stealing it to finish the half 18-9 to the good.

Baby was fortunate to stay on the pitch after he head butted a prone O'Driscoll five minutes into the second-half provoking the normally placid Irish captain to have a go at him, however, referee Tony Spreadbury kept him on after giving him a stern talking to.

O'Gara slotted the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit to six points. Ireland should probably have run in a try five minutes later but O'Driscoll with a two man overlap chose to grubber kick it and France took possession.

Yachvili kicked a beauty of a penalty with just the last quarter to go and leave France 21-12 to the good.

The Irish had the chance to take three points 13 minutes from time but instead chose to go for a try but despite a lot of heaving and passes back and forth along the line they came away with nothing, O'Gara's chip through being batted away by Dominici with Hickie bearing down on him.

However as Pelous departed the scene it was his Irish counterpart O'Driscoll who brought the house down as a breathtaking run from inside the French half saw him brush past Frederic Michalak and with a jink of the hips he slipped inside Laharrague to touch down under the posts - O'Gara converted to make it 21-19 with just 10 minutes remaining.

The Irish, though, blew themselves apart as Murphy failed to kick out of his 22 and instead opted to run it out, it ended up with Dominici's second try as Sylvain Marconnet broke from the maul and fed the veteran to round off a special day for the winger and a miserable one for Ireland.


Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article