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Hello and welcome to today’s liveblog as Ireland take on France in their crunch Six Nations encounter at Energia Park.

After last weekend’s superb victory over Wales, Ireland enter today’s clash in a good place, naming an unchanged team, looking again to their teenage stars, Beibhinn Parsons and Dorothy Wall, to shine.

Parsons scored two tries last weekend and is no longer being talked about as a player with potential, rather as a superstar who has already arrived. Wall has the same superstar qualities, nerves of steel, technical excellence, a big-game mentality.

beibhinn-parsons-arrives Beibhinn Parsons arrives into Donnybrook. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Those attributes will be needed today against favourites, France. Kick off is half-an-hour away. Let us know how you think Ireland will get on in the comments section below.

There is some great reading on The42 site today.

Check out Sinead Farrell’s superb match preview here.

Meanwhile, as part of our Trailblazers series, Daire Walsh here explains how Rosie Stewart played a pivotal role in Ulster and Irish rugby before her tragic passing at the age of 33. 

Daire also spoke to the first-ever captain of the Ireland women’s team — Jill Henderson. 

Professor of rugby, Murray Kinsella, profiles Dorothy Wall here.

 

 

Here are the teams for today’s game.

Ireland: Eimear Considine; Lauren Delany, Eve Higgins, Sene Naoupu, Béibhinn Parsons; Hannah Tyrrell, Kathryn Dane; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Linda Djougang; Aoife McDermott, Nichola Fryday; Dorothy Wall, Claire Molloy, Ciara Griffin (Captain).

Replacements: Emma Hooban, Katie O’Dwyer, Laura Feely, Brittany Hogan, Hannah O’Connor, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

France: Emilie Boulard; Caroline Boujard, Carla Neisen, Jade Ulutule, Cyrielle Banet; Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; Annaëlle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Rose Bernadou; Madoussou Fall, Safi N’Diaye; Marjorie Mayans, Gaëlle Hermet (capt), Emeline Gros.

Replacements: Laure Touyé, Maïlys Traoré, Clara Joyeux, Coumba Diallo, Romane Menager, Pauline Bourdon, Morgane Peyronnet, Gabrielle Vernier.

Referee: Sara Cox (RFU).

Time for the anthems.

So massive game; winners will take on the winners from the other pool (in other words England). Kicking off now.  

We’re up and running. Scrum Ireland.

2 minutes So first scrum of the day; France get a big push on. Ref, Sara Cox, resets.

Penalty to Ireland. Great start. Hannah Tyrrell kicks to touch.

4 minutes Poor line-out from Ireland; referee Cox says it was not straight. Scrum, France.

5 minutes

Penalty to Ireland – superb scrum from Ireland, great work Lindsay Peat in particular in the front row. Tyrrell has a kick in front of the posts.

5 minutes PENALTY IRELAND (Tyrrell) Ireland 3-0 France

She nails it.

7 minutes

So a superb start from Ireland; but France reply with intent. They advance to the Ireland 22 but Ireland’s linespeed is magnificent. Their organisation didn’t fall apart despite French attempts to go wide. Scrum, Ireland. They get a free kick off it. Things could not be going better so far.

8 minutes Dorothy Wall equals a brick wall for Caroline Boujard. France’s winger gets crunched.

11 minutes Claire Molloy tidies up off a France line-out. Ireland have another scrum. So far, they are impressing in this department. Another solid set-piece sees Ireland play from outside their own 22. France are pinged for a deliberate knock-on. Penalty, Ireland.

12 minutes Cliodhna Moloney’s throw does not find its intended target; Wall knocks on. Scrum, France.

TRY FRANCE, 13 MINUTES Ireland 3-5 France (Caroline Boujard)

15 minutes Ireland 3-7 France

Fine try for France, taken off the training ground, transferred to the pitch; good hands from France, six of their backs involved, Jade Ulutule delivering the key pass in that move, Caroline Boujard held her width to finish it off. Conversion added.

17 minutes Penalty to Ireland; good work by Moloney at the breakdown. Tyrrell finds touch.

19 minutes Onfield decision is try to France but TMO is checking the grounding.

TRY FRANCE (Emilie Boulard) Ireland 3-12 France

Ireland had been in control, building through the phases quite patiently, Eimear Considine had carried twice; but France gained a turnover and full-back, Boulard’s, kick and chase was expertly converted. A fine try from their perspective; a kick in the guts for Ireland.

Conversion added from Caroline Drouin, Ireland 3-14 France

21 minutes Penalty to France, Griffin caught offside. France go to the corner.

22 minutes PENALTY TRY (France) Ireland 3-21 France

Aoife McDermott sent to the bin for bringing the maul down; France’s set-piece was exceptional there.

TRY IRELAND (Moloney) Ireland 8-21 France

27 minutes So that try stemmed from Considine’s magnificent break to set up field position deep inside the French 22. France failed to clear their lines, a line-out followed and off a clever move, Ireland got their maul working and Moloney crashed over. Superb spirit from Ireland considering they have a player in the bin.

29 minutes Boulard takes a tap and go and advances deep into the Ireland 22. Ireland go offside. Penalty, France. Kickable distance.

30 minutes PENALTY FRANCE (Drouin) Ireland 8-24 France

32 minutes 

Penalty, France. Linda Djougang harshly penalised for coming in from the side.

TRY FRANCE, 35 minutes, Ireland 8-31 France (N’Diaye)

McDermott is back in; it is 15 v 15 again; Ireland under pressure, though. Heroic defending from Ireland, Wall, McDermot, Moloney all doing well. Another penalty goes France’s way; eventually Safi N’Diaye gets across.

36 minutes 

Good tactical kick from Considine – a reminder of her Gaelic football background with Kilmihil and Clare. Ireland gain territory as a result. 

38 minutes TRY FRANCE (Cyrielle Banet) Ireland 8-36 France

That was utterly frustrating. Some fine attacking play from Ireland – Considine again to the fore – ended with France robbing possession off Parsons and then the French counter-attack was something else; Banet finished off the chance brilliantly, the third member of their back-three to get a try in this first-half.

HALF-TIME Ireland 8-38 France

Tough half, yet the gap should not be as sizeable as it is. Two of France’s tries were preventable, counter-attacks which followed cheap possession being gifted away.

There were plenty of positives. Peat has scrummaged well; Considine is hungry for possession; Wall is heavily involved. The result looks gone but Ireland had some decent passages of play in that first half.

While you’re waiting for the action to restart, we’re giving away an Ireland women’s rugby jersey. Details below: 

W6N ht comp - France new

Second-half underway. 

Early scrum to Ireland, Drouin kick-off failed to go 10 metres.

43 minutes A chief feature of this game is the pace France are playing at; tap-and-go is their go-to attitude whenever they win a penalty and Ireland have been caught out a number of times. 

Ireland scrambled well on this occasion, however. Wall did particularly well.

44 minutes Moloney’s throw isn’t straight. Scrum, France. “Ireland’s line-out requires a bit more movement,” says Fiona Coughlan on commentary.

46 minutes Penalty to France, Considine penalised for a high-tackle. France kick to touch and have line-out in Ireland 22.

Try France (Caroline Boujard) Ireland 8-43 France

47 minutes So Ireland defended the French maul well initially before strong carries from Rose Bernadou and Emeline Gros led to space outside; Boujard holds her width and gets across with ease. 

51 minutes Great throw from Moloney; Dane gets the Ireland backline moving; Parsons gets the ball inside the France 22 but is closely monitored. Peat, eventually, is tackled into touch.

53 minutes First touch for Murphy Crowe; she runs into heavy traffic but Ireland keep the play alive; Wall knocks on. Ireland ring a couple of changes. They desperately need a score to regain some confidence.

That’s better. Superb Ireland scrum results in a penalty. Peat again excelling in this department.

55 minutes Moloney harshly penalised for a tackle in the air. France have the throw just inside their own half.

TRY FRANCE, (Romane Menager)

57 minutes Ireland 8-48 France

A stunning score; fine line-out and then some sizzling back-play; Romane Menager running a great line before she powers past Considine to score yet another try for France. This is now France’s record points total against Ireland.

Lindsay Peat and Linda Djougang have earned their rest; both props scrummaged well today.

62 minutes Decent phase-building from Ireland; Parsons again involved, again in traffic. Ireland win a penalty and take a quick tap, ball moves into the France 22; Stacey Flood directs things neatly. Emily Lane throws a low pass; Ireland knock on

63 minutes Laura Feely penalised at the scrum. France clear their lines. They then attempt to play inside their own half, Drouin makes a great break, delivers a fine pass to Banet. She gifts possession away, Ireland clear, but France come again.

Boulard makes good ground, Considine makes a brilliant tackle on N’Diaye. France get a penalty.

This ref has just wrecked my head. 

Yellow card for Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe for a high tackle.

66 minutes Penalty France

- Ireland 8-51 France

68 minutes

Brilliant tackle by Eimear Considine on Maïlys Traoré. Stacey Flood tidies things up. Ireland win a penalty, their 10th. They have conceded 18. That has been their problem today.

Stacey Flood has impressed since she came on. Tidy passer. 

Stacey Flood has just emptied Caroline Drouin. She won’t be running at her again in a hurry.

71 minutes The game is petering out at the moment. Ireland are tiring; understandably so given the tempo of the play. The scrum has looked under serious pressure since Peat and Djougang went off.

71 minutes TRY FRANCE (Banet)

Great finish from Banet, great play by Romane Menager to set it up.

72 minutes Ireland 8-56 France

The French finishing today has been ruthless; while Ireland have competed well in phases, whenever space has opened up, France have exploited it time after time.

74 minutes TRY IRELAND 

75 minutes Ireland 15-56 France

Emma Hooban gets it; the replacement hooker throws well, then after Fryday collects, a strong maul marches the French down over their line; Hooban touches down and Stacey Flood kicks a magnificent conversion.

77 minutes Parsons makes a great take in the air; penalty to Ireland. Ireland take a quick tap, Considine’s kick has too much on it. Ball goes dead. Marjorie Mayans has been named player of the match. Hugely deserved.

79 minutes France have just demolished the Irish scrum. They are on the charge again.

FULL-TIME Ireland 15-56 France

A tough afternoon for Ireland, a reminder that France, as well as England, are on a different level to everyone else in the Six Nations. And yet there were positives: On an individual basis Eimear Considine ran some clever lines and never shirked responsibility; Béibhinn Parsons didn’t get the space she craved but still put her hand up for work; Kathryn Dane had a decent game at scrum-half; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney and Linda Djougang scrummaged well and were probably substituted too early.

In the back row, Dorothy Wall, Claire Molloy and Ciara Griffin competed ferociously. And they had to. France are world class; their back three, especially, know how to finish. That said, Ireland will be annoyed with themselves for two first-half tries when they were caught in possession and had no one at home in the backfield to mind the house.

The 15 points they did score were hard earned – but fully deserved. 

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About the author:

Garry Doyle

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