Player Ratings: Out of gas
OPINION: France is the only team to have won at Landsdown Road during Andy Farrell’s tenure and they came to Dublin in excellent form.
The reigning Grand Slam winners Les Bleus won 14 consecutive games.
Despite a less than impressive bonus-point win against Italy in the first round, head coach Fabien Galthie opted to stick with an unchanged starting lineup.
Yet when push came to shove, France ran out of wind and didn’t have the leaders to drag them back into the game.
Ian Cameron rates the France players!
15 Thomas Ramos – 7
After a shaky performance against Italy, the nerves weren’t long surfacing in Dublin, gifted Ireland an attacking lineout on the 5 metres 7 minutes in. He reeled it back in and become a force as the game wore on, a dead duck drop-goalkeeping France in the hunt.
14 Damian Penaud – 8.5
The arch-finisher’s 17th-minute effort was summoned straight out of the French book of Magic Tries. Luckily for Penaud, referee Wayne Barnes picked up several questionable tackles on James Lowe and Johnny Sexton. Potential discipline risks apart, Ireland didn’t have an answer for Penaud.
13 Gael Fickou – 8
Won the first of his individual battles with Garry Ringrose, bumping off the Irishman on first contact. Cast a long shadow over proceeding throughout and stayed in the fight when many of his teammates were flagging.
12 Yoel Moefana – 5
While lacking the razzmatazz of his colleagues, Moefana brings a workmanlike solidity to the French midfield. A helpful onlooker at times here though.
11 Ethan Dumortier – 6
Kept quiet in the first half but fired into life in the second with a crucial breakout relieving pressure for the French. Has that precious ability to ghost defenders like a bad Tinder date.
10 Romain Ntamack – 5.5
Seemed to shepherd Hugo Keenan over the line with little indication that he was interested in tackling the Leinsterman in the opening minutes. A wonderfully skilful player but passed and stepped when he needed to kick France around the pitch. He lost the chess battle with Sexton and Ross Byrne after him.
9 Antoine Dupont – 8.5
The irascible Toulousain ran Ireland ragged with the ball in hand and had a handoff for every one of the Irish team. It was his insane defence that set him apart though. He can’t do it all himself though and this result proves it.
1 Cyril Baille – 6
One of a number of French forwards who didn’t get their own way, with the Irish pack not prepared to roll over for the proverbial tickle. Didn’t get into Finlay Bealham in the way you imagine the French coaching ticket might have liked.
2 Julian Marchand – 6
Lots of busy work from Marchand even if he struggled to dent Andy Farrell’s green wall.
3 Uini Atonio – 6.5
Won a penalty after a big carry yielded a lapse in discipline from the Irish. Was incredibly lucky not to be sent off for a shoulder-to-head contact on Irish hooker Rob Herring, but it was a strong showing from the New Zealand-born behemoth.
4 Thibaud Flament – 6
Struggled for yardage in Dublin and didn’t get to show off his trademark athleticism.
5 Paul Willemse – 5
Didn’t get much change out of Ireland’s defence and again didn’t prove the destructive force of previous campaigns. Replaced shortly after halftime.
6 Anthony Jelonch – 7
Linked up superbly with Penaud for Les Bleus’ first, spellbinding five-pointer and was the most effective of the French loose forwards.
7 Charles Ollivon – 6
The French really lost their unit battle with the Irish back row. Ollivon reigned supreme in the lineouts but didn’t have any bright ideas in the face of the continual Irish harassment.
8 Gregory Alldritt – 5
Completely outplayed by opposite number Caelan Dorris and had run out of puff in the final quarter. France needed stars like Alldritt to stand up but it never came.
Replacements – 6
The French bench couldn’t divert the Irish steam train as it made its way home. Matthieu Jailbert was the hero last week but that hand-off from Garry Ringrose as the Leinsterman strolled over in the 72nd minute will haunt him.