Ireland 24 – 9 France
Ah, and doesn’t that warm the heart and all?
The way to watch that match, as I did, was at a pub surrounded by nervous and then delirious Irish folk. And aren’t we all Irish this morning?
Dominant: 70% possession and 70% territory. And smart: good decisions all night long. And skilful: especially in the cleanouts, which were accurate and lethal. Kearney at fullback, and Murray at halfback, were outstanding. Madigan, who came on for Sexton at 26 minutes, was sensationally composed.
Raise a glass or five to coach Joe Schmidt, who has drilled the skills and nous into this team for the last few years. They deserve to believe after that performance.
That the French stayed in it up to the 70th minute, despite all that pressure, is testament to their character. They tackled and tackled and tackled, because they had to. They kicked three long range penalties, which is fair warning that we can’t give them a sniff of points, because they’ll bloody turn it into a feast.
Dial up the anxious. France. Cardiff. Quarter-final.