Ireland underlined their status as the world’s number one team as they overwhelmed defending champions France 32-19 on Saturday in a fantastic Six Nations match that absolutely lived up to its billing, delivering wonderful tries and relentless skill.
In the first-ever Six Nations clash between the world’s top-two ranked nations, a Hugo Keenan try put Ireland ahead but France hit back with a brilliant counter-attack finished off by Damian Penaud.
Ireland regained the lead with an extraordinarily athletic finish by James Lowe and added a third through prop Andrew Porter. France stayed in touch with three Thomas Ramos penalties but trailed 22-16 at halftime after one of the best 40 minutes the competition has seen for years.
The second half was tighter, but Ireland were disciplined in holding France at bay before Garry Ringrose crossed for the fourth try to cap off a superb display and end a run of three successive defeats by the French.