scrum-photo credit-oreillyhugh(Flickr creative commons)
As we enter into the second round of games in this years 6 Nations, reigning champions Ireland welcome France to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening. Both these sides have been involved in some highly entertaining games in the last ten years as we look at France’s last five visits to Dublin.
A Six Nations campaign that both sides will want to forget as France collected the wooden spoon with Ireland finishing second from bottom with a better points difference. Both sides went into the game needing a win and it was Ireland who started the better going into the break with a 13-3 lead thanks to the boot of Paddy Jackson and a try from Jamie Heaslip. Ireland failed to increase their lead in the second half and a Morgan Parra penalty cut the deficit to seven until Louis Picamoles went over the whitewash with five minutes left to tie the game. Both sides looked for a winning score but in the end they shared the spoils in a 13-13 draw.
In what was a highly competitive game, France were able to come away from Dublin with a 25-22 win. A game that could of gone either way, however France were victorious thanks to the boot of Parra and Yachvili and a try from Maxime Medard. Ireland got two tries of their own from McFadden and Heaslip but in the end it was not enough to secure the win. The final standings saw France finish in second behind England with Ireland finishing in third level with France with the French having a better points difference.
In what was Ireland’s first step in their journey to becoming Grand Slam champions, they welcomed France to Croke Park looking to start their Six Nations campaign with a win. In what was a tight first half Ireland led 13-10 at the break with Heaslip and Harinordoquy getting tries for both sides. Ireland came out of the blocks early in the second half and increased their lead to 10 with O’Driscoll producing a moment of brilliance leaving French defenders for dead to dive over the whitwash for Ireland. France were quick to respond with a try of their own with Maxime Medard going over in the corner reducing the deficit to five. Ireland dominated the remainder of the game and were able to get the winning score with Gordon D’Arcy doing enough to get the ball over the line. The game finished 30-21 in Ireland’s favour and was the first of five wins with Ireland securing the Grand Slam that year.
What an historical day in February 2007 with Ireland hosting France in the Six Nations in the first ever Rugby match played in the home of GAA in Croke Park. A momentous occasion for every Irish person who thought this day would never come. After O’Gara had slotted a penalty two minutes from time to give Ireland a 17-13 lead all they needed to do was hold out for two minute and secure the win. Unfortunately that was not to be the case with Vincent Clerc receiving the ball on the 22 and running through a gap and touching down to secure the French the win. The win for France proved to be decisive as they won the championship that year ahead of Ireland with a better points difference.
After winning their opening three games Ireland went into the France game looking for a win to continue their Grand Slam dream. However they did not get off to the best of starts and were 18-9 down at the break with Dominici and Baby getting tries for France. Ireland looked for a way back into the game and with eight minutes to go O’Driscoll gave them a glimmer of hope with a magnificent individual try. Ireland looked for a late score to win it but it was France who had the last laugh with Dominici getting his second try of the game to complete a 26-19 win for the French. It was Wales who were Grand Slam champions that year with France and Ireland finishing second and third respectively.