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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Sarah Rendell

Ireland 3-53 France: Women’s Six Nations – as it happened

France's Agathe Sochat celebrates scoring a try with her teammates.
France's Agathe Sochat celebrates scoring a try with her teammates. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO/Shutterstock

Thank you so much for joining me for this clash between Ireland and France. It was an improved performance from the hosts but they couldn’t stop the French monster from rumbling over for numerous scores. The French defence is also a wall which held strong throughout the match. It will take some stopping but Ireland will be pleased with the platform they have built to continue to develop the side throughout the tournament. The report from the match will be published shortly, have a good evening!

Scotland v Wales’ coverage has started on BBC Two! It will be a tight contest with recent matches between the pair being separated by around five points.

Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams told the BBC: “It’s hard. it is a big scoreline, if you look at the resilience we wanted players to show that and they did. I was happy the players worked. The key is to keep building now, three new caps again this week. They are a great group of players, they are learning, they are inexperienced. It takes time, it is a young squad. We own that and we are proud of the players.”

Ireland captain Nichola Fryday told the BBC: “I am really proud of the girls for sticking with it, we showed spells of what we want to do on the ball. I thought there was an improvement on the physicality this week. But we couldn’t match the intensity they brought. It’s invaluable game time for the girls, we are at the start of the journey with this group. People are getting behind us and we really appreciate it.”

My prediction from the start of the game was so close! I predicted 52-10 for France but the actual score was 53-3.

Full-time: Ireland 3-53 France

Despite going down to 14 players at 21 minutes with Deshaye given a red card, France were utterly dominant in the match. Nine tries completely put Ireland to the sword but the hosts can take heart from a better performance than in round one.

83 min: It’s a clean scrum and they are going through the phases now. Ireland are trying everything to secure a try here but a pass goes awry.

82 min: Ireland continue to probe for a try, the clock is in red but Ireland have a scrum now. Can they get a try here? Deely is back on after her sin bin.


79 min: O’Brien takes it quickly instead of kicking to the corner and they go through the phases. However, Ireland lose it forwards and then France knock on too. Ireland scrum which could set-up the last play of the game.

78 min: Delany catches a high ball and runs it, making a huge break. She offloads to Swords and they go through the phases. McGann drops but it went backwards and Ireland are playing an advantage. It comes back after O’Brien is taken out off the ball.

77 min: Bourdon, who has scored two tries, has been named the Player of the Match.

CONVERTED TRY! Ireland 3-53 France (Escudero, 76')

A dominant scrums sees France power over with Escudero reaping the rewards. Tremouliere adds the extras.

75 min: Monaghan is okay to continue and we have the French scrum to come!

74 min: Riffonneau made a great break but she should have backed herself to go over but she delayed her pass and stunted the move. We come back for an advantage with France having the scrum. Time is off for players to receive some treatment, Monaghan in particular.

74 min: France are in possession once more and they have plenty of time to add to their trove of points. But they decide to kick and Delany, who was just subbed on, comes away with it. Monaghan knocks it on though and France intercept!

CONVERSION! Ireland 3-46 France (Tremouliere, 72')

France change their kicker once more and the replacement gets the extras.

TRY! Ireland 3-44 France (Vernier, 71')

France take it quickly and go through the phases. Vernier spots a gap on the wing and runs to line!

France's centre Gabrielle Vernier runs in a try.
France's centre Gabrielle Vernier runs in a try. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images


SIN BIN! Ireland 3-39 France (Deely, 70')

The full-back is off for the hair pull.

70 min: Ireland kick upfield and France have the line-out, it functions again and they put the maul into action once more. It looks as though Deely pulled Banet’s hair to get her down, they play the advantage for it. It is lost forward and we come back for it, ref goes to pocket.

France’s wing Cyrielle Banet (left) has her hair pulled by Ireland’s full-back Meabh Deely.
France’s wing Cyrielle Banet (left) has her hair pulled by Ireland’s full-back Meabh Deely. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO/Shutterstock


69 min: Vernier has good hands to keep the play alive, Tremouliere kicks through and collects but it is distrupted by Ireland who turn it over. Really good work from the hosts.

68 min: Eventually the French defence comes good once more as Ireland knock on. Forlani is off for Picut ahead of the latest French scrum. They come away with it and are on the hunt for try number eight.

67 min: Possession exchanges hands but Ireland come away with it. They are on the halfway and so they will have to do a lot to score form here. They go through the phases, building metres as they go, but this French defence is so impressive.

65 min: Ireland do really well at the scrum as they win a penalty, France collapsing the set piece. The hosts can clear their lines.

64 min: The attacking phases end with a rip from a tackle and France kick it upfield, it’s touched down in the goal area and there is a goal-line drop out. O’Brien kicks it straight into touch and so France have a five-metre scrum. Before the set piece Sochat is replaced by Riffonneau.

63 min: France decide to kick from the restart and Tremouliere’s kick sees the ball go dead. Ireland have a scrum and Nic a Bháird is isolated as she picks it up from the back of the set piece. The hosts manage to get some phases going and they are on the attack.

61 min: Bourgeois misses the conversion but France are ramping up now!

TRY! Ireland 3-39 France (Banet, 59')

France march towards the line but they can’t find a way in so they go wide with Banet waiting.

France's wing Cyrielle Banet dives over the line to score a try.
France's wing Cyrielle Banet dives over the line to score a try. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images


58 min: I believe Hogan and McGrath are on, I will correct myself if I have got that wrong! France charge down a kick and it works well. France make a change with Bourdon off before France form a maul.

CONVERSION! Ireland 3-34 France (Bourgeois, 55')

The kick is good! Some subs have happened so I’ll update you when I can.

TRY! Ireland 3-32 France (Sochat, 55')

The line-out works well again for the French and they form a maul, seems to be a move from the training ground! They march on and Sochat reaps the rewards.

France's hooker Agathe Sochat (centre) scores a try.
France's hooker Agathe Sochat (centre) scores a try. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images


54 min: The scrum is clean but Ireland’s clinicism is not clicking, they cough up possession with a breakdown penalty. They are then marched back 10 metres as Swords wouldn’t give the ball back! France win another penalty shortly after and they go quick but Moore intercepts this time. She holds on and France have it back! Wow, back and forth!

52 min: Moore makes huge metres as Ireland launch their latest attack but they put ball to boot, Bourjard tries to catch but she drops! Ireland scrum to come.

51 min: Tremouliere and Hermet are on for Gros and Arbez for France and Ireland have also made changes. Irwin is off for McGann and Swords is on for her debut for Scuffil-McCabe. Swords has been in English and Welsh camps but this is her first cap internationally!

51 min: Jones takes the line-out and it’s clean as Ireland set up yet another attacking set. O’Brien sends a grubber kick through but Boujard comes away with it. This is France’s first attacking threat of the half. Arbez’ kick is charged down but she manages to collect it again but a few phases later Ireland win a breakdown penalty! France are about to make some changes.

49 min: The French line-out is good once again, they form a maul and Ireland do well to defend it. They stop it marching on and France have to whip it through the hands. A kick comes in and Doyle catches well, she is tackled high and wins the penalty. O’Brien kicks upfield.

47 min: Nic a Bháird makes impressive metres and it sets them up to go through the phases. Irwin has great hands to keep the ball and Ireland keep knocking on the door. But Nic a Bháird goes into another breakdown and she holds on, France win the penalty and clear their lines.

46 min: It’s an even scrum and Ireland come away with it. The hosts are on the hunt here, it would be a huge statement if they score first in this second half.

45 min: Fryday catches from the line-out and they are on the attack, a huge tackle comes in from Vernier! Ireland keep coming and they win a breakdown penalty with France off their feet. Ireland call for a scrum.

43 min: It’s a quick scrum but Irwin knocks on in the attack so France have it back. It’s a powerful Irish scrum and they win a penalty, huge after they were dominated last week. O’Brien kicks to the corner.


42 min: Djougang does well from the start, collecting O’Brien’s kick. Joyeux thought she had won it back but we come back for the advantage after it was knocked on. Ireland scrum.

Back underway! Ireland 3-27 France

So can Ireland overturn this scoreline? Or will France run away with it? All will be revealed in the second 40…

Here’s France’s opener:

Sadly there is not yet a clip of the red card on social media but I will keep looking for one. I thought that was going to be a turning point in this match but France adapted really well to going down and have scored three more tries since. If they can continue the dominance in the second 40 will have to be seen.

Have a look at Boujard’s try, I will try and find a clip of the red card too:

Half-time: Ireland 3-27 France

The scoreline at half-time is hugely dominant for France and doesn’t display the good work Ireland put in in the early stages. Deshaye was given her marching orders after a high tackle but France have continued to add to the scoreboard. Ireland have a long way back but a comeback is possible if they come out firing in the second half.

41 min: France knocked on and Ireland have another scrum. They come away with it again and are going through the phases, Monaghan finds some space. But France turn it over and they are running it out!

39 min: France are building from deep here and Gros makes huge metres! But Bourgeois knocks on and Ireland have the ball and the scrum. They come away with it and they are hunting for their first scrum of the match.

37 min: Bourgeois once again misses the conversion, it is all France after a good start from the Irish.

TRY! Ireland 3-27 France (Vernier, 36')

France win it from the restart and they kick upfield. A French line-out works well once more and they form a maul, Vernier finds a hole, passes to Bourdon who gives it back to her for the fifth try! Just wow.

34 min: Bourdon read that play really well to get that try, it was a great individual piece of skill. Bourgeois missed the conversion and despite going down to 14 players, France are in control.

TRY! Ireland 3-22 France (Bourdon, 32')

Bourdon charges a kick from O’Brien down and she goes over for the bonus-point.

France's Pauline Bourdon scores her side's third try.
France's Pauline Bourdon scores her side's third try. Photograph: Tom Maher/INPHO/Shutterstock


32 min: France decide to kick it away once more and there’s another Irish line-out. This time it works well and Fryday catches. They form a maul and they make great metres. It eventually goes to ground legally and they have to run it out.

30 min: France are with the ball again and are hunting for their bonus-point score. They decide to kick it away and Ireland will have the line-out. Jones’ throw is intercepted by France and they launch yet another attack.

CONVERSION! Ireland 3-17 France (Bourgeois, 28')

France have changed their kicker and Bourgeois slots it.

TRY! Ireland 3-15 France (Bourdon, 28')

They get closer and Forlani offloads to Bourdon who crashes over.


27 min: The French line-out continues to function well and they are on the attack once again. Arbez chips the ball and catches it slickly as they go through the phases. This is impressive from France, especially being a player down. They are inching closer to the line.

26 min: France edge closer but Bourdon drops the ball and Sochat attempts to pick it up but knock on. There’s a scrum and to contest Berthoumieu is off for Lindelauf as Deshaye, who has the red card, is a prop. Ireland come away with it and the clearance kick is good!

24 min: Ireland are straight into attack but Scuffil-McCabe is pulled into touch, a French line-out to come. Sochat’s throw is good and they form a maul. They quickly use it though and they are on the hunt for their third of the afternoon.

PENALTY! Ireland 3-10 France (O'Brien, 22')

It’s straight through! Ireland are away.

21 min: O’Brien has pointed to the sticks for a penalty from that red card, could be the first points of the game for Ireland.

RED CARD! Ireland 0-10 France (Deshaye, 21')

Deshaye’s shoulder hits Nic a Bháird in the head in the tackle. Davidson said there is no mitigation. A huge moment.

21 min: Moore is okay to continue and Ireland have the line-out, which works well! They are going through the phases again but Davidson has pulled it back for a TMO check on a high tackle from Deshaye.

20 min: Ireland try to run it wide but Feleu makes a great tackle and Sochat turns it over! The visitors relieve the pressure but that was a good spell for Ireland. Moore is down injured here so there is a break in play.

19 min: The French defensive wall is almost impenetrable close to the line but Ireland keep on knocking! If they are patient they will get there, they just have to keep going through the phases.

18 min: It’s a strong scrum from Ireland and they come away with it. It’s run to O’Brien who thumps the ball upfield. Bourgeois drops the ball but it goes backwards, she then kicks and Ireland collect and they decide to run it. What a break from Scuffil-McCabe, it livens the crowd up! Can they get their opening score here?

16 min: Djougang’s knee has been heavily strapped and she is staying on, for now. We restart the match with an Irish scrum.

16 min: Ireland defend the French maul well but the visitors are on the attack once more. The offload came to Boujard but she drops the ball in! Djougang is down and her knee is receiving attention, there’s a break in play.

15 min: Forlani is tackled into touch but referee Hollie Davidson says Ireland deliberately knocked on and so France have the ball. There’s a break in play as Behan received some treatment but she is okay to continue.

15 min: Oh my word, Bourdon has missed another simple conversion. She is a scrum-half but they are right in front of the post. France may change their kicker.

TRY! Ireland 0-10 France (Boujard, 13')

A solid set piece from both sides sees France come away with it Menager punching a hole in the Irish defence. Banet also made metres and France looked to boot it. Boujard kicks it on after a chase and she dots down! Fantastic score!

France’s Caroline Boujard scores her side’s second try despite the best efforts of Natasja Behan of Ireland.
France’s Caroline Boujard scores her side’s second try despite the best efforts of Natasja Behan of Ireland. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images


12 min: A great restart from Ireland with the kick taking a bounce and going out. The French line-out is disrupted by the Irish but they don’t turn it over. Monaghan forces France into a mistake but we come back for an Irish knock-on, the first scrum of the day!

11 min: Despite Ireland’s momentum in these opening exchanges, it does not take much for France to get over. Bourdon was the kicker for the conversion but she missed a simple kick.

TRY! Ireland 0-5 France (Forlani, 9')

France form a maul again but this time Ireland defend it really well. The visitors go through the phases and Forlani blasts over!

8 min: France form a maul from a line-out and Ireland give away an advantage in their defence. They force France to run the ball and they will have to create something from deep. The French are gaining metres well but they drop it. We come back for the advantage and Arbez kicks to the corner.

6 min: The French line-out works well and win a subsequent breakdown penalty. The visitors can relieve some pressure but this is a thoroughly good start from the hosts.

5 min: Ireland keep battering the French defence, which is one of the best in the tournament. They are slowly gaining metres but O’Brien opted to boot it through and it goes out close to the line! France will have the line-out but the kick was the right option.

Ireland's Molly Scuffil-McCabe passes to Dannah O'Brien.
Ireland's Molly Scuffil-McCabe passes to Dannah O'Brien. Photograph: Tom Maher/INPHO/Shutterstock


4 min: The line-out doesn’t function and France come away with it, a missed opportunity there. Ireland turn it over at the breakdown once more though! Djougang rips the ball in the tackle to set her team off on the attack.

2 min: Bourgeois has her first taste of international rugby and Ireland almost turn it over at the breakdown but France come away with it. They go through the phases but Dalton wins a breakdown penalty! O’Brien kicks to the corner, a good start for Ireland.

Kick-off! Ireland 0-0 France

Here we go then, round two is underway! Can Ireland cause an upset or will France romp to victory? We will find out shortly.

There is a good crowd at Cork and they will be cheering Ireland on for a win. The anthems are in full flow, just minutes from kick-off now.

Players will be out shortly for the anthems ahead of this clash! Who do you think win this? I’m predicting a 52-10 French win.

A fun fact for you:

A little preview for the match tomorrow between England and Italy. The Red Roses are looking for their second win after beating Scotland last week but Simon Middleton’s team have been dealt a few injuries, read about it:

Some interesting stats ahead of the match:

If you want to catch up with who is who or any fun facts about teams, check out our team-by-team guide for the tournament:

Do you have a day in front of the TV scheduled to watch both Women’s Six Nations matches today? Ireland v France will be followed by a tasty clash between Scotland and Wales, the perfect Saturday if you ask me! You can contact me to let me know what you’re up to via Twitter or email.

France are favourites to win the match and it is clear to see why in recent games between the two nations. France have scored more than 40 points against Ireland in their last three meetings. It would be a big upset if Ireland can get the victory today.

Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams has spoken about what went wrong against Wales. He said: “It wasn’t the fitness that was the issue [in Cardiff]. It was the ability to cope with the physicality and there are ways that we can do that. We can get lower. We can bring more energy. We can work on working in great numbers to counteract physicality. It’s not just about size. It’s about our ability to learn from experiencing a level of physicality that the players wouldn’t have had before.”

Greg McWilliams

Emma Swords coming onto the Ireland bench was a late change for the hosts. Swords has been in England and Wales camps but has never won a cap, today could be the day!

The team news is here. Ireland have made four changes to their starting line-up. Dannah O’Brien comes in a fly-half and Vicky Irwin starts in the centres. In the forwards, Christy Haney comes in at prop and Grace Moore starts at flanker.

Ireland: Deely; Doyle, Dalton, Irwin, Behan; O’Brien, Scuffil-McCabe; Djougang, Jones, Haney, Fryday (c), Monaghan, Wall, Moore, Nic a Bháird

Replacements: Nielson, McGrath, Buggy, O’Connor, Hogan, Swords, McGann, Delany

Nichola Fryday with her arms crossed

France have made two changes to their starting XV. Mourgane Bourgeois wins her first cap for France at full-back and is the only change in the backs. In the forwards, Clara Joyeux is in at prop.

France: Bourgeois; Banet, Ménager, Vernier, Boujard; Arbez, Bourdon; Deshaye, Sochat, Joyeux, Feleu, Forlani (c), Berthoumieu, Gros, Escudero.

Replacements: Riffonneau, Lindelauf, Khalfaoui, Picut, Hermet, Chambon, Trémoulière, Dupouy.

Hello and welcome to Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations clash against France! The hosts are looking for their first win in the tournament after losing to Wales in round one. France, meanwhile, are seeking to extend their wins after defeating Italy.

Ireland put out a disappointing performance last weekend, only scoring one try and they were well beaten across the pitch by Wales. They will want a stronger outing against the French but their opponents will be the strong favourites to come away with the win.

France are hoping to banish their bad luck in the tournament this year and take the trophy from England, who continue to reign supreme. A win this afternoon will be another step towards the allusive Grand Slam.

The team news was announced this week and I will bring you all the headlines from that shortly. Stay tuned ahead of kick-off at 3.15pm BST.

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