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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 February, 2004, 15:48 GMT
France 35-17 Ireland
MATCH DETAILS
French fly-half Frederic Michalak showed some nice touches but his kicking was again variable
France: 35
Tries: Clerc, Pape, Jauzion, Elissalde
Cons: Michalak (3)
Pens: Michalak (3)
Ireland: 17
Tries: Foley, Howe
Cons: O'Gara (2)
Pens: O'Gara
France cruised to a comfortable win against Ireland in the RBS Six Nations.

The Irish were only 11-10 down five minutes into the second half but France then produced a devastating 14-point burst to stretch clear.

Vincent Clerc, Pascal Pape, Yannick Jauzion and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde scored the hosts' tries, with Frederic Michalak kicking 15 points.

Ireland's tries came from Anthony Foley and Tyrone Howe, with Ronan O'Gara kicking their other points.

When the two sides met in the World Cup France destroyed Ireland's hopes within the first 20 minutes and the visitors came out determined not to let the same happen again.

The fired-up Irish dominated territory for the opening quarter, but all they had to show for their efforts was a fifth-minute O'Gara penalty as they produced a series of threatening attacks but could not break the French defence.

France finally got on the board after 20 minutes when Michalak succeeded with his second penalty attempt and five minutes later Les Bleus scored the first try of the game.

Damien Traille splintered the Irish midfield with a slashing break and Toulouse flyer Clerc crossed in the corner.

KEY MOMENTS
26 Mins: Clerc crosses for France's first try
44 mins: Foley scores to raise Irish hopes
51 mins: Pape calms French nerves with their second try
54 mins: Jauzion's try gives France a decisive lead

Michalak, whose kicking game fell apart against England in the World Cup semi-final, made a total mess of the conversion, but he added a penalty after half an hour to give France an 11-3 lead at the break.

To their credit Ireland hit back four minutes into the second half as Foley profited from good work by O'Gara to rumble over for a converted try but the score only succeeded in sparking France into life.

They stretched away again as the debutant second row Pape scored under the posts after a searing Nicolas Brusque counter-attack and within minutes they had their third try as Jauzion sauntered over.

With Michalak converting both tries and adding a penalty France were home and dry at 28-10 with 20 minutes to play.

It looked ominous for the Irish but they once again lifted their game and scored their second try when Howe wriggled over, with O'Gara converting.

But the final word went to France as Michalak converted Elissalde's try after the French had produced a trademark counter-attack.


France: N Brusque (Biarritz); V Clerc (Toulouse), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), D Traille (Pau), C Dominici (Stade Francais); F Michalak (Toulouse), J Elissalde (Toulouse); S Marconnet (Stade Francais), W Servat (Toulouse), P De Villiers (Stade Francais), F Pelous (Toulouse, capt), P Pape (Bourgoin), S Betsen (Biarritz), O Magne (Montferrand), I Harinordoquy (Pau).

Replacements: Y Bru (Toulouse), J Crenca (Agen), D Auradou (Stade Francais), T Lievremont (Biarritz), D Yachvili (Biarritz), B Liebenberg (Stade Francais), P Elhorga (Agen).

Ireland: G Dempsey (Leinster); S Horgan (Leinster); K Maggs (Bath); G D'Arcy (Leinster), T Howe (Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster); R Corrigan (Leinster), S Byrne (Leinster), J Hayes (Munster), M O'Kelly (Leinster), P O'Connell (Leinster) capt, S Easterby (Llanelli), K Gleeson (Leinster), A Foley (Munster).

Replacements: F Sheahan (Munster), S Best (Ulster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), V Costello (Leinster), G Easterby (Rotherham), D Humphreys (Ulster), A Horgan (Munster).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan
"The two tries in the middle of the second half killed us"



RBS SIX NATIONS 2004


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