The game was delayed from the freezing weather a couple of weeks ago and so although cold it was played in good conditions. Right from the off Ireland got in the faces of the French and made them force the pace. So it was that a telegraphed pass from Rougerie was picked off by Tommy Bowe who ran in unopposed. He later scored again and with two conversions and one penalty from Dave Sexton who was having one of his fired up games and was perhaps lucky not to be in the bin for an off the ball incidence Ireland went in at half-time 17-6 ahead. France having two Parra penalties.
The second period and France stepped up a gear and also controlled the contact area much better than the first half, this meant they could retain the ball and build phases. The whistle of Dave Pearson also pinged them back.
It was a bit of individual flair from Wesley Fofana that broke them down as he went over to close the score to 11-17. Two further Parra penalties brought it level at 17-17 and gave us a last 10 minutes of Ireland disciplined defence and France banging their heads against a brick wall. Tow Beauxis attempts at a dropped goal came to nothing the first rolling along the ground and the second charged down. The last play saw Julian Malzieu bundled into touch. This gave us the first draw between the teams since 1985 and a final score of:
France 17-17 Ireland
Penalties: Parra 4
Tries: Bowe 2
Conversions: Sexton 2
France: 15-Clement Poitrenaud, 14-Vincent Clerc, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Wesley Fofana, 11-Julien Malzieu, 10-François Trinh-Duc, 9-Morgan Parra; 1-Jean-Baptiste Poux, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski, 3-Nicolas Mas, 4-Pascal Pape, 5-Yoann Maestri, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 7-Julien Bonnaire, 8-Imanol Harinordoquy
Replacements: 16-William, 17-Vincent Debaty, 18-Lionel Nallet, 19-Louis Picamoles, 20-Julien Dupuy, 21-Lionel Beauxis, 22-Maxime Mermoz.
Ireland: 15-Rob Kearney, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Keith Earls, 12-Gordon D’Arcy, 11-Andrew Trimble, 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray; 1-Cian Healy, 2-Rory Best, 3-Mike Ross, 4-Donncha O’Callaghan, 5-Paul O’Connell (captain), 6-Stephen Ferris, 7-Sean O’Brien, 8-Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Tom Court, 18-Donnacha Ryan, 19-Peter O’Mahony, 20-Eoin Reddan, 21-Ronan O’Gara, 22-Fergus McFadden.
Referee : Dave Pearson (ENG)
Touch judges : Wayne Barnes & Andrew Small (both ENG)
TV : Geoff Warren (ENG)