Rugby: France maul Ireland

France 33 Ireland 10

Ireland’s Gordon D'Arcy is unable to stop Yannick Jauzion of France from scoring during their Six Nations clash in Paris. Photo / Getty Images
Ireland’s Gordon D'Arcy is unable to stop Yannick Jauzion of France from scoring during their Six Nations clash in Paris. Photo / Getty Images

SAINT-DENIS - France scored three tries to thrash defending Grand Slam champion Ireland 33-10 in the Six Nations today.

Hooker William Servat and veteran centre Yannick Jauzion went over to put France 17-3 ahead at halftime, and fullback Clement Poitrenaud added another converted try after superb work from centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

Morgan Parra kicked a drop goal before Ireland flanker David Wallace crossed the line for a converted try after being set up by centre Brian O'Driscoll.

Parra slotted over another penalty and substitute Frederic Michalak added a late drop goal to cap a dominant performance from coach Marc Lievremont's team.

"We're not looking for a landmark performance - we're looking for consistency, even though I am very happy with the players," Lievremont said. "We were very strong in the difficult moments, notably in the first 15 minutes. The team showed great intelligence."

France defended brilliantly on its own line in the first half, thwarting Ireland repeatedly with some ferocious tackling.

"The whole team should be congratulated, it was a collective effort," Lievremont said. "But we know it won't be easy to go and get this third victory in Cardiff (against Wales)."

France captain Thierry Dusautoir hailed the team's composure under early Irish pressure.

"We have been very disciplined for some time now. That is what we have been doing well for some time now and that is very important in international rugby," Dusautoir said. "We managed to keep them under pressure and keep that momentum throughout the game."

It was the first international held at Stade de France since France beat Ireland in November's controversial football match, where Thierry Henry's handball set up William Gallas for a goal and sent the French to the 2010 World Cup at Ireland's expense.

France won its opening match 18-9 in Scotland, while Ireland beat Italy 29-11.

France defended ferociously on their tryline twice inside the first 10 minutes as Ireland cut swathes in the French midfield.

France had an escape in the 17th minute when O'Driscoll looked certain to score after chasing his own kick, but the ball bounced away from him right in front of the posts and France winger Vincent Clerc got there first.

Ireland prop Cian Healy was sinbinned moments later for a professional foul and Parra put France 3-0. Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery was lucky to escape similar punishment when he brutally kicked winger Alexis Palisson, receiving only a lecture from referee Wayne Barnes.

France took advantage of the extra man when the pack pinned Ireland down close to its line, and Servat drove over for a converted try to give France a 10-0 lead.

Ronan O'Gara cut the lead with a penalty, but irrepressible France pulled further ahead when first five-eighths Francois Trinh-Duc's pass sent Jauzion over the line.

France held out just on halftime as Ireland failed to find a way over the line. After an even 20 minutes of the second half, Poitrenaud added a third try after Bastareaud took a high ball and provided him with a clean pass.

Parra added a long-range drop goal several minutes later to make it 27-3, but Ireland briefly rallied when poor defending allowed O'Driscoll too much space to feed Wallace to cross the line.

Parra then hit the post with a penalty from the left touchline before a long-range kick made it 30-10. Michalak then came off the bench to add a drop goal.

France was missing locks Sebastien Chabal and Romain Millo-Chluski, halfback Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, fullback Damien Traille, prop Fabien Barcella and wingers Benjamin Fall and Aurelien Rougerie to injury - plus halfback Julien Dupuy, who is banned for eye-gouging.

France 33 (William Servat, Yannick Jauzion, Clement Poitrenaud tries; Morgan Parra 2 penalties, 3 conversions, drop goal, Frederic Michalak drop goal) def. Ireland 10 (David Wallace try; Ronan O'Gara conversion, penalty). HT: 17-3.

- AP

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