French scrum-half Morgan Parra led the hosts to an impressive 33-10 win over Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday, dashing Irish hopes of a repeat of last year’s Grand Slam triumph.
AFP - France shattered Ireland's dreams of a repeat of their Six Nations Grand Slam here on Saturday beating them 33-10 with scrum-half Morgan Parra who had accused the Irish of being cheats earlier in the week masterminding the defeat.
First-half tries by William Servat - his second for his country - and Yannick Jauzion - his 19th in his 65th test - and a second-half one from Clement Poitrenaud - his sixth - with Parra chipping in with 15 points saw France easily see off a rather flat Irish team.
Ireland - winless here since 2000 - managed one try through David Wallace while Ronan O'Gara kicked the rest of their points.
The Irish camped themselves in the French half for the first 10 minutes but some sterling defence by France kept them at bay.
The French were not faring very well in the lineouts as they lost three in a row on their throw and it was from the third one the Irish came desperately close to scoring the opening try as Brian O'Driscoll broke through, chipped over Poitrenaud and raced for the line.
However, 31-year-old O'Driscoll having outpaced Poitrenaud didn't get the bounce of the ball and it was ruled a dead ball when it hit the post.
That led to two disastrous minutes for the Irish as Imanol Harinordoquy set up a great move that culminated in Cian Healy tackling Parra who didn't have the ball and referee Wayne Barnes flourished the yellow card without hesitation - Parra slotted over the penalty to give the hosts a barely-deserved lead.
Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery was fortunate not to join Healy on the sidelines as his leg connected with Six Nations debutant Alexis Palisson laying him out - Barnes opted to give him the benefit of the doubt and just awarded a penalty to France.
Palisson, though, had played to limp off clutching his right thigh to be replaced by Julien Malzieu.
The French finally made the Irish pay properly for being one man down as with Healy preparing to return to the fray Servat crashed over while Parra converted to make it 10-0 - O'Gara reduced the deficit with a penalty just before the half-hour mark.
However, the French now well and truly had their tails up and in the 31st minute Jauzion went over, after Mathieu Bastareaud had made the initial break, leaving the Irish to get a talking to by O'Driscoll - Parra converted to make it 17-3.
Ireland, though, weren't going to let their Grand Slam disappear quietly into the night and laid siege to the French line as the half came to an end but try as they might they couldn't break the valiant French defence and came away with nothing.
The Irish were really under the hammer from the start of the second-half as the French pierced their defence at will highlighted when O'Driscoll failed to intercept a pass and Trinh-Duc ran 30 metres only to knock on close to the line when he was tackled.
The pressure told as Keith Earls - who had moved from wing to replace the injured Rob Kearney at fullback - caught the ball in the 22 for a fair catch but in taking the quick kick he fumbled it and knocked it on.
France took full advantage from the ensuing scrum as they fed it out to the left and Poitrenaud eased into the corner to touch it down - Parra added an impressive conversion followed minutes later by a wonderful drop goal.
Ireland showed some spirit in grabbing effectively a consolation try through David Wallace, which was converted by O'Gara, but the peerless Parra was to make it 30-10 with just over 10 minutes remaining with a long range penalty.
The mercurially-gifted Frederic Michalak was to rub salt even deeper into the wounds close to the final whistle with a drop goal to end a miserable day for the Irish.
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Date created : 2010-02-13