IRELAND hopes of pulling off a Women’s Six Nations upset were cut short with five first-half French tries at Musgrave Park.
What made it all the more frustrating was that three of these came after Annaëlle Deshaye received a red card after a high tackle on Deirbhile Nic a Bháird in the 20th minute.
France were aggressive and they scored the opening try from their first spell in possession inside the Irish 22.
Pauline Bourdon leaped over from close range and that it made it 5-0, with the missed conversion some let off to Greg McWilliams and his players. Ireland went straight up the pitch from the restart and won a line-out inside the French 22. What looked to be the start of something was undone by a simple knock-on.
They quickly released and a box kick over the top was misjudged by Natasja Behan. Marine Ménager sprinted in, stealing the ball from her opposite number, and ran over the second try of the game.
Ireland slowly grew into themselves, a change that was accelerated by the dismissal of Deshaye. Dannah O’Brien chose to go for the three points and the fly-half did not miss.
Just as everything seemed to be coming together, a French line-out on the halfway line led to a swarm of blue jerseys bursting onto the Irish 22. At the end of this move was Pauline Bourdon and she burrowed over on the goalline and Mourgane Bourgeois converted. The scrum-half got her second in quick succession by blocking down a box kick from O’Brien and running the ball over.
She then set up Gabrielle Vernier on the left wing and the inside centre got on the score sheet. Bourgeois missed the conversion and that sent France into the break with a commanding 27-3 lead.
Ireland started the second half by getting awarded three scrums and a penalty inside the French half. They only got onto the five-metre line once and then the French got the ball back. France got two more tries over the next 20 minutes, with Agathe Sochat and Cyrielle Banet running those over. Émilie Boulard was only able to put over one conversion, and that made it 39-3.
A yellow card for Méabh Deely created space allowing France to run over two more tries. Gabrielle Vernier and Charlotte Escudero scored those and Jessy Trémoulière curled over both conversions.
M Deely; A Doyle, A Dalton, V Irwin, N Behan, D O’Brien, M Scuffil-McCabe, L Djougang, N Jones, C Haney, N Fryday, S Monaghan, D Wall, G Moore, D Nic a Bháird.
A McGann for Irwin (51), N Cronin for Scuffil-McCabe (51), B Hogan for Moore (56), S McGrath for Haney (56), L Delany for Doyle (72), K Buggy for Djougang (72), H O’Connor for Fryday (74), C Neilson for Jones (75).
M Bourgeois, C Banet, M Menager, G Vernier, C Boujard, C Arbez, P Bourdon, A Deshaye, A Sochat, C Joyeux, M Feleu, A Forlani, A Berthoumieu, E Gros, C Escudero.
C Lindelauf for A Berthoumieu (25), G Hermet for Gros (51), J Trémoulière for Arbez (51), M Picut for A Khalfaoui (56), A Chambon for P Bourdon (56), M Dupouy for Ménager (60), C Domain for Sochat (64), M Picut for Forlani (66).
Hollie Davidson (SRU)