On Saturday, Ireland made a major stride toward the Six Nations Grand Slam with a 32-19 win over the reigning champions France in a thrilling match between the top two teams in the world. This victory was not just a milestone in the competition, but it also marked head coach Andy Farrell’s first win against France since he took over after the 2019 World Cup. With four tries, Ireland earned a bonus point, with Andrew Porter scoring one on his 50th cap, contributing to a record 13th consecutive home test victory.
France’s dreams of a back-to-back Grand Slam were shattered as their national record of 14 consecutive test victories came to an end. Despite this loss, France’s skipper Antoine Dupont remained optimistic, stating that the tournament is far from over and that his team would work to recover from this setback.
The match started with Thomas Ramos scoring a penalty for France, but Ireland quickly took the lead with a stunning try from Hugo Keenan, who burst through the French defense after a dummy pass from Finlay Bealham and a feed from Conor Murray. The trusty boot of Thomas Ramos reduced the gap, but France produced a dream try with Damian Penaud running in for his 22nd test try. Ireland regained possession, and James Lowe managed to touch down in the corner, though Sexton failed to convert.
When French prop Uini Atonio was sin-binned for a high tackle, Ireland took advantage, and Andrew Porter burrowed over, with Sexton converting. Thomas Ramos kept the scoreboard ticking, but Sexton slotted over a penalty, giving Ireland a 22-16 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Ross Byrne assumed the playmaking role after Sexton received treatment and had to leave the game. Byrne landed a penalty, and Caelan Doris found Garry Ringrose on the left wing, who fended off French defenders to touch down, and Byrne converted for a 32-19 lead. Despite one last effort from France, Ireland emerged victorious, with Sexton rising from the sidelines to celebrate what would be his final Six Nations victory against France.