Ireland top Pool D after Rugby World Cup win over France
Ireland eventually overcame France, quite convincingly in the end, after what started off as tactical arm wrestle, as Joe Schmidt’s side progressed from Pool D in first place, avoiding New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
After 30 minutes, Ireland were just 9-6 in front, with both sides playing what seemed like a game of chess, however, Schmidt’s side lost the influential Jonny Sexton, with the fly half appearing to injure his groin, with Ian Madigan taking his place, kicking a penalty a couple of minutes later.
Not long after, Ireland could have opened up their lead, when Tommy Bowe cut through the French lines and looked as though he was going to put Keith Earls in for an easy try only for the 28-year-old to fumble the pass. By half time, Ireland had also lost Paul O’Connel through injury, with the score standing at 9-6 to the Irish.
The second half was, by comparison, more lively, with both teams taking more risks in attack and kicking well for position. Not long after the restart, Ireland seized the initiative. Following a great break, which saw Robbie Henshaw scamper through a number of French defenders, gaining vital ground, Rob Kearney then powered over, beating Frederik Michalak one-on-one.
With Morgan Parra introduced to proceedings, his first task was to convert a penalty as France edged back to make the score 14-9 though they never looked like breaching the Irish lines. Their main priority was keeping hold of the ball, with Ireland time and again turning the ball over in ruck situations.
As the match neared the end, and injuries starting to stack up for Schmidt’s side, Ireland dug deep and kept on pressing.
The match was finally settled with eight minutes to go when Conor Murray crashed over from close range under the posts leaving Madigan to kick an easy conversion. Four minutes later, he kicked a penalty; the last score it turned out with the match finishing 24-9 as Ireland top their pool.