Six Nations 2017: Ireland overpower France to top standings
- Author: Stacy Allen Feb 28, 2017,
Feb 28, 2017, 0:24
Ireland remain in contention for their third Six Nations title in four years after coming from behind to defeat France in Dublin.
Scrum-half Murray scored the only try of the game as Joe Schmidt's side moved top of the table, his half-back partner Jonathan Sexton adding 11 points on his global return.
Victory made it two wins from three for Ireland this tournament but for France it was yet another setback on foreign soil, with their woeful Six Nations away record now standing at just three wins - two against Italy and one over Scotland - in 15 games.
If Ireland want to win this Six Nations and push on to become a better team, they need to improve their scoring rate when they get into the opposition red-zone. We debated it and we do believe that we get a good balance with having both players available.
France have denied they will target Ireland's returning fly-half Johnny Sexton in Saturday afternoon's game at the Aviva Stadium, saying they have tried that in the past and it did not work. It'll be very tough but we've two weeks to prepare and we know the preparation is key for us.
"But we're not thinking. about the end of the championship yet", he said.
Conor Murray got over after 30 minutes when he spotted a gap with Ireland a few metres out and slipped through the French rearguard to touch down. "We are really trying to stay really focused on the immediate challenge". "Wales may have lost to Scotland on the scoreboard, but they had two disallowed tries and for a lot of the game looked as if they were in control". The French haven't finished better than fourth in Six Nations play since 2011, the last time they managed to beat Ireland in Dublin.
Jackson slotted a late penalty in a tidy late cameo, as Ireland repelled France's constant threat.
Andy Farrell has copped his fair share of flak for the rate at which Ireland were leaking tries but he deserves huge credit as his side didn't concede a try for the first time since he came into the job past year. We have to be careful that we don't get too ahead of ourselves but I think this Ireland team are able to handle the increased pressure that is on them.