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The Blues dominate Ireland but leave the title to England

ByRoborto Sykes

Nov 1, 2020

The mission was difficult, it turned out to be impossible. Following England’s broad and enhanced victory in Italy, the XV of France had to curb Ireland with a minimum gap of 31 points to overturn the table and win their first 6 Nations Tournament since the Grand Slam of 2010 The men of Fabien Galthié started this decisive meeting, played in a Stade de France deprived of supporters, on the hats of wheels. After a first penalty missed by Conor Murray, who tried his luck in vain from 57 meters, it was the Blues who struck the first. Following a framing-overflow of Gaël Fickou on Andrew Porter, the tricolor winger served on a plateau Antoine Dupont for the first try of the meeting. But, like the match against Wales, the Blues paid for their lack of discipline. The yellow card received by Anthony Bouthier, guilty of a voluntary forward to slam the ball in touch in front of Hugo Keenan, made the Habs doubt. Despite the pressure of the attack of the XV of Trèfle, it is a XV of France in solidarity which held the shock. However, just before the Montpellier full-back returned to the field, following a streak of upwind play, Cian Healy found space at the foot of the posts to flatten and revive Ireland.

An Irish error revived the XV of France

The team led by Andy Farrell then relied on Jonathan Sexton to get past shortly before the half hour mark. An advantage which only lasted four minutes because Caelan Doris was at fault. Putting his hand on the ball, the Blues have continued to advance and, following a kick for himself, François Cros headed for the Irish in-goal before be stopped irregularly by the opposing third line. The double penalty was inevitable with a penalty try and the yellow card for the Irish number 6. Ten minutes of power play which the Habs were unable to take advantage of, Romain Ntamack only responding to Jonathan Sexton to allow the XV of France to find his locker room with an advantage of four lengths, far from 31 units necessary to wrest the title. But Fabien Galthié’s players have found their way back and forth on their lawn. Four minutes after the restart, following a good ball recovery from Anthony Bouthier, Romain Ntamack was able to shift Gaël Fickou into the closed area. After an acceleration of the Parisian, he relies on the inevitable Antoine Dupont who, after having resisted the return of the Irish defense, sent his number 10 to lady. With two penalties, the Blues started the second half with an 11-0.

The Blues are content with victory

With a gap of fifteen points, it still needed an effort, but also a fourth try to hope to snatch the trophy from the hands of XV de la Rose. But, on the hour mark, Robbie Henshaw showered the hopes of France. The Irish center three-quarter, replacing Garry Ringrose, sent the French defense waltz on a cross run. After breaking three tackles and resisting the desperate return of Antoine Dupont, the Leinster player flattened the second try of the XV du Trèfle and restarted the match. With a gap reduced to eight lengths and less than 20 minutes to play, it was no longer a question of winning the tournament but the XV of France made a point of honor to register a fourth try and take the offensive bonus point . Which came ten minutes from the end via Virimi Vakatawa. After a kick to follow for himself, Romain Ntamack perfectly served his three-quarter center which had only to flatten his 17th try in the France team. But it was the Irish who ended the game on a high note. After a balancing act along the line after a serve from Hugo Keenan, Jacob Stockdale had no further opposition to flatten a third and final try for Ireland. The XV of France won with the offensive bonus (35-27) but it was England, vice-world champion, who won the 6 Nations Tournament for the third time in five years. The only small consolation for the Blues, they will overtake Ireland in the world rankings to regain fourth place in the hierarchy.

6 NATIONS TOURNAMENT / DAY 5
Saturday October 31, 2020
Wales – Scotland: 10-14
Italy – England : 5-34
France – Ireland: 35-27

Ranking
1- England 18 points
2- France 18 (+21)
3- Ireland 14 (+30)
4- Scotland 14 (+18)
5- Wales 8 (+21)
6- Italy 0 (-134)