Ireland reignited their Six Nations title defence using a bonus-point win over a dismal France side in Dublin.

The holders rediscovered the form that had abandoned them at the opening rounds of the championship to remain in the name battle ahead of these Cardiff show down with Grand Slam-seeking Wales.

Yoann Huget and Camille Chat scored late consolation tries for France.

Those scores neglected to conceal another unsatisfactory French operation but they will hurt Ireland’s points differential going in the last week.

Jacques Brunel’s side went to Dublin with renewed confidence from their impressive win against Scotland but that they had no answer to Ireland’s mixture of accuracy and power.

The only disappointment for head coach within his own final Six Nations home game was that his side couldn’t convert their dominance to more scores as they remain behind Wales and England at the race with this season’s championship name.

Forward power

Ireland made six changes to the forward package that started against Italy in around three and also the return of front line players like Greatest, James Ryan and Iain Henderson had the desired effect.

The green setpiece was completely dominant and their lineout maul over repeatedly made penalties to keep France trapped in their own 22 and powerless to flee.

Best’s early score was an indicator of what was going to come because ’s fiendishly clever kick gave his pack a toe hold and the Irish did the rest – dragging their captain over at the next opportunity.

France nearly reacted but Damien Penaud was called back for knocking-on whilst trying to grab a crossfield kick and the ball scarcely left French land for remainder of the opening half.

Bonus stage goal achieved

Ireland over repeatedly turned down kickable penalties as they hunted down a bonus point and their unrelenting pressure was eventually rewarded.

Still another notable lineout gave Sexton the distance for a loop across Ringrose and the Irish flyhalf skated through a ragged defensive lineup for an outstanding try.

Cian Healy and Ringrose both had tries either side of the Sexton score but Ireland were undaunted because they showcased their open-play attack to acquire a third try before the fracture.

Ringrose and then Sexton cleverly switched against the grain until Tadhg Furlong bolted through a gap and Conan muscled through two tacklers to apply the conclusion.

More shortly.


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