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Sunday, March 4, 2012

6 Nations: Kissing Your Sister in Paris

This weekend had just one match in the Six Nations, a make up from a couple of weeks ago when France-Ireland was cancelled at the 59th minute of the 11th hour due to a frozen pitch at the Stade de France.

There is an expression in the US that a match that finishes in a tie is "like kissing your sister"-not as bad a loss-BUT...

Today's 17-17 draw was a very entertaining match that was really a tale of two halves.

The first half was the Tommie Bowe show, who scored two tries for the men in green: The first when he intercepted a moon-ball lofted up Aurelien Rogerie-an early St. Patrick's day gift for the Irish winger. The second score came from nothing when he took a pass from Keith Earles, then chipped over the French defense, and benefitted from a fortunate bounce, then outpaced the French to touch the ball down for a second try.

Ireland did dodge a major bullet in the first half when prop Cian Healy interfered with a promising French Attack from a blatantly off side position.  France was slow out of the box and Ireland made them pay with a 17-6 lead at half time.

France come out with a lot more intensity in the second half. Morgan Parra had a good kicking day for France on day when conditions were not optimal at the Stade de France. Wesley Fontana had a great individual effort for France, showing great pace to score on a forty meter diagonal run from some loose play near midfield. Game on.

French Coach St. André brought on Lionel Beauxis for Poitrenaud at fullback. Late in the second half, the French forwards did great work to get Beauxis in position for not one, but two drop goal attempts when they were getting deeper into Irish territory with time running out. The first attempt was a grubber that skidded through the try zone. The second was charged down by Ferris.

Both defenses kept their discipline to not give away any penalties with time running out. In the end, the 17-all draw was a fair result. Ireland had the better of the first half, France the second. There will be no Grand Slam for France this year, but they still can possibly when the Six Nations if they win their last two matches-the last one should be a great match in Cardiff against Wales. Don't think that the two sides will have forgotten their passionate and tight semifinal from RWC 2011 in Wellington.  It won't be a World Cup, but a Six Nations title will be a welcome addition to either Welsh Headquarters in Cardiff, or French  headquarters in Paris.

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