Ireland fight all the way but are no match for France in

first_img 63,398 Views Saturday 9 Mar 2019, 8:54 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 22 Comments Mar 9th 2019, 8:54 PM By Ryan Baileycenter_img Ireland fight all the way but are no match for France in front of record crowd Adam Griggs’ side were on the end of another heavy defeat at Donnybrook, as they continue to struggle in this Six Nations. Share74 Tweet Email1 Ireland 17France 47Ryan Bailey reports from Donnybrook ONE WONDERS HOW many of these ‘learning experiences’ must it take for Ireland to find a solution to the obvious defects which continue to hinder any tangible progress under Adam Griggs.There was so much to like about this Saturday night under the lights at Donnybrook. A record crowd for an Ireland women’s international crammed inside to create a boisterous atmosphere from start to finish, with many of the 6,047 having travelled from clubs right around the country.  Boujard was outstanding for France. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHOOn the field, Ireland were strong in the areas we know they’re strong in. The set-piece, led by the ever-willing duo of Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy, caused the French problems early on and was the source of two first-half tries. It meant the hosts were game for 30 minutes of this contest, but — much like against England here on the opening weekend — there was an inevitability about the outcome as the evening progressed. Once France hit their straps, Annick Hayraud’s team ruthlessly exposed the gulf in class. There can never be any questioning the heart, bravery and willingness of this Ireland side, yet those characteristics will only get you so far at international level when the fundamentals — tackling, an effective exit strategy and an ability to retain possession — consistently let you down. There is only so much talking about development, blooding young players and building for the future you can do before something has to give. Griggs admitted as much during the week, conceding his side have reached a point when they now need to start winning matches. “We want results and at the moment we are not getting those,” he said pre-match. “We need to fix that.”Subduing the formidable French threat was always going to be a nigh-on impossible task, and certainly the defending Six Nations champions will leave Dublin knowing they had to work for their victory, but it’s now seven defeats in eight games for Ireland. They never really came close to winning this one either.The concession of seven tries again shows where Ireland need to improve. It has been the story of the championship, both this year and many more before it. The target of a top-three finish is looking increasingly fanciful. France winger Caroline Boujard, named player of the match, ran riot here, scoring one try and setting up a couple more, while World Player of the Year Jessy Trémoulière looked every inch of that in a classy return from injury.Even when the visitors were reduced to 14 for the final quarter after Marine Ménager was harshly shown red, they still had the power and authority to dominate, tacking on another two scores.Griffin and Molloy led from the front for Ireland, both crossing in the first half, but after throwing everything at the visitors during a frantic opening salvo, Griggs’ side were simply unable to contend with the physicality, athleticism and power of the French.  Ali Miller was lively on the wing for Ireland. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHOIt took France, ranked third in the world, all of three minutes to find the breakthrough score, and display a clinical edge which would ultimately prove the difference.Give this French back three loose ball to feed off and they will punish you, a lesson Ireland failed to heed from all of their video analysis work during the week. Boujard chipped and chased and the home side were torn apart.Defence turned to desperation for Nichola Fryday, as the second row cynically tackled Yanna Rivoalen off the ball just as the visitors appeared set to strike after a sweeping move down this right side. Fryday was sent to the bin by referee Ian Tempest — receiving the fastest yellow card in Women’s Six Nations history — and the French maul was set in motion, Ireland offering little in the way of resistance and all hooker Caroline Thomas had to do was simply fall over the whitewash. Ireland, to their credit, summoned an instant response but their vulnerability in defence always meant they were chasing the game. Ali Miller was unlucky not to get over in the corner after a storming surge, and the hosts again showed their set-piece power when Griffin finished off the back of a close-range scrum. At one end, a direct approach built on the relentlessness of a well-oiled set-piece, and at the other, a lethal, free-flowing backline capable of cutting loose from anywhere. Two vastly contrasting styles, both equally effective, but there was only going to be one winner. Ireland will be disappointed with the four first-half scores they coughed up, as again they failed to lay a hand on Boujard, who didn’t need a second invitation to run with ball in hand and cause utter destruction through the heart of the green defence. Collecting a poor clearing box-kick, the French winger showed pace and agility to slalom through some feeble tackle attempts and even when she was hunted down by Eimear Considine just short of the line, Boujard had the smarts and skills to offload for the supporting Ian Jason to finish the job. Trémoulière’s touchline conversion was exquisite. Fryday was back from the bin and, not to be deterred, Ireland rebounded strongly. No prizes for guessing the source of the score, but it was another well-worked try, as this time the tireless Molloy barged over after excellent retention and control from the forwards. Ireland celebrate Molloy’s first-half try. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHOFrance knew they were in a scrap, and turned to their own set-piece in a bid to reassert some authority. Once they did so, focusing on executing the basics of their game, it was all one-way traffic.Loosehead prop Lise Arricastre put the head down and got the legs pumping after a period of sustained pressure on the Ireland line, before the visitors created further daylight on the scoreboard through the outstanding Boujard just before the break.Again, it was too soft from an Irish perspective as mistakes crept into their performance. Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird lost the ball in contact and, recognising that the green shirts were out of position, scrum-half Rivoalen chipped in behind for Boujard to streak clear. France remorsefully poured forward in the same vein after the break, showing absolutely no design on taking their foot off the pedal. Ireland scrambled, but when you clear straight back down the throat of Trémoulière, with a non-existent chase, you’re asking for trouble. And it arrived, Ménager crashing over for a fifth. There was a real danger France would run riot in the closing quarter but having remained valiant in their defensive duties, Ireland were given a second wind when Ménager was sent off for leading with the forearm into Griffin’s neck. They immediately took advantage as some well-worked phase play up front resulted in the space being created out wide for Sene Naoupu to finish, and the hosts had their third try. Too little, too late.France weren’t finished, either. Audrey Forlani and Marine Ménager caused further damage in the closing exchanges, ending any hope of a late rally from Ireland, who go to Wales on the final weekend.No faulting the desire and effort, but this is a results business. Victory next weekend looks imperative to salvage something from this championship.Ireland scorers:Tries: Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Sene Naoupu.Conversions: Nicole Fowley [1 from 2], Ellen Murphy [0 from 1].France scorers:Tries: Caroline Thomas, Ian Jason, Lise Arricastre, Caroline Boujard, Romaine Ménager, Audrey Forlani, Marine Ménager.Conversions: Jessy Trémoulière [6 from 6], Pauline Bourdon [0 from 1].IRELAND: 15. Lauren Delany, 14. Eimear Considine, 13. Enya Breen, 12. Sene Naoupu, 11. Alison Miller (Beibhin Parsons 49′), 10. Nicole Fowley (Ellen Murphy 55′), 9. Kathryn Dane (Nicole Cronin 64′); 1. Laura Feely (Lindsay Peat 47′), 2. Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Emma Hooban 67′), 3. Fiona Reidy (Linda Djougang 55′), 4. Aoife McDermott, 5. Nichola Fryday (Claire Boles 70′), 6. Ciara Griffin (captain), 7. Claire Molloy, 8. Claire McLaughlin (Anna Caplice 55′)FRANCE: 15. Jessy Trémoulière, 14. Caroline Boujard, 13. Yolane Yengo, 12. Gabrielle Vernier, 11. Ian Jason, 10. Pauline Bourdon, 9. Yanna Rivoalen; 1. Lise Arricastre (Mailys Traore 52′), 2. Caroline Thomas, 3. Clara Joyeux, 4. Celine Ferer, 5. Audrey Forlani, 6. Gaelle Hermet (captain), 7. Columba Diallo, 8. Romaine Ménager.Replacements: 16. Laure Touye, 18. Chloe Pelle, 19. Laetitia Bobo, 20.Fiona Lecat, 21. Emma Coudert, 22. Camille Imart, 23. Marine Ménager.Referee: Ian Tempest [RFU].Subscribe to our new podcast, The42 Rugby Weekly, here: Short URL Subscribelast_img