Sunday 24

Rugby Union

Ireland beat France to stay in Six Nations race

10th March 2019, 18:24 by Craig Smithson

Ireland defeated France 26-14 and now need a win against Wales next weekend to have any chance of defending their Six Nations crown.

Joe Schmidt's side had to defeat Les Bleus in Dublin after the Welsh and England claimed victories against Scotland and Italy respectively in Saturday's games.

And they picked up the gauntlet with captain Rory Best grabbing an early try, before Johnny Sexton, Jack Conan and Keith Earls added to the score to ensure a bonus-point victory.

However, Ireland failed to press home their dominance as they went from a 19-0 half-time lead to a 26-14 final score with Yoann Huget and Camille Chat grabbing late consolation tries for France.

The reigning champions must go to Cardiff and pick up the win to deny Warren Gatland's men the Grand Slam and then hope England slip-up against Scotland at Twickenham due to Eddie Jones' side boasting a far superior points difference.

Speaking afterwards, Best told ITV Sport: "I think we had chances with a series of scrums on their line but we just let ourselves down a little bit. But the way we controlled the game we will be happy. We had chances in the first half and maybe we could have put some away but you cannot underestimate how physical that French side are.

"We weren't expecting to get as many line-outs as we did and a few things came off and a few didn't. We know going to Cardiff next week we will have to be a lot better and the exciting thing is how we get our teeth into that.

"To go to Murrayfield and play like that shows where Wales are at the minute and Cardiff is a tough place to go, so we'll dust ourselves down and prepare well."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.

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