Ireland hit by French resistance

Ireland were left to rue a French comeback after their Round 4 encounter in Dublin ended in a 13-13 draw. [more]

Ireland hit by French resistance

Ireland were left to rue a French comeback after their Round 4 encounter in Dublin ended in a 13-13 draw.

A converted Louis Picamoles try with just six minutes remaining saw the spoils shared at the Aviva Stadium as France picked up their first point of the Championship.

“We were disappointed with that. We did a lot of good things but didn’t manage to close the deal,” said Ireland head coach Declan Kidney after his side threw away a 13-3 half-time lead.

“I think we’re getting stronger in our belief each week. The frustration is obviously mounting but I don’t think we’re too far off a very good performance.”

Ireland had looked on course to bounce back from successive defeats to Scotland and England after establishing a decent lead at the break but France dug deep in the second half to ensure they will at least avoid a tournament whitewash regardless of what happens when they face the Scots in Paris next week.

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Captain Jamie Heaslip gave his side a brilliant start when he burst over from close-range after just 10 minutes following a superb driving maul from the Irish pack as they adapted best to he atrocious weather conditions.

Pouring rain meant running rugby was difficult throughout and the rest of the first-half points came via a conversion and a penalty from Paddy Jackson and a single three-pointer from France fly-half Freddie Michalak.

But Ireland failed to push on after the interval, with a Morgan Parra penalty bringing France back to within a single score after 52 minutes.

With the weather refusing to relent, Ireland were favourites to hang on for a second win of the Championship but French perseverance paid off when No8 Picamoles beat Keith Earls to a kick ahead to make it a two-point ball game.

That score handed Michalak the chance to make amends for an otherwise disappointing kicking display and the mercurial Toulon halfback did just that with a wonderful conversion from just inside the left touchline.

Ireland suffered further woe in the final minute of the match as replacement scrum-half Eoin Reddan suffered a broken leg that will keep him out of action for three months and ends his outside hopes of a Lions spot.

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