But Ireland lost 35-27 to France in final Six Nations match in Paris
Ireland prop Cian Healy scores try on 100th Test appearance
Cian Healy scored a first-half try when making his 100th Test appearance but Ireland lost 35-27 in their Six Nations match against France in Paris.
The result means England are 2020 Six Nations champions on points difference.
France had needed to score four tries and win by a margin of 31 points to win their first championship title since 2010 while Ireland needed to score a try and triumph by six points to lift the trophy. Both countries fell short of those targets.
It was a competitive first half, with only four points separating the teams at the break as France led 17-13. The hosts then extended their advantage early in the second half with Romain Ntamack scoring 11 points (a try and two penalties).
Ireland did get a try back as Robbie Henshaw beat a handful of French defenders when running in an individual score on the hour mark, but with the Irish lineout malfunctioning France were able to clear from pressure situations.
Then a Virimi Vakatawa try on 71 minutes put France 35-20 ahead and there was no way back for Ireland, albeit that Jacob Stockdale scored a consolation try to make the final result 35-27.
Healy’s achievement should not be diminished by the result, however. He is only the third man to win 100 caps for Ireland, after Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Rory Best, Paul O’Connell and John Hayes, and he marked the occasion with a try.
The prop, who won his first cap in 2009, drove over close to the posts at the Stade de France in the 19th minute as Ireland put pressure on France while they were down to 14 men following Anthony Bouthier’s sin-binning.
Related: Ben Youngs marks 100th England cap with two tries
Ireland had gone 7-0 down in the sixth minute after a Gael Fickou break put Antoine Dupont away for the opening try.
Then Bouthier received a yellow card after deliberately slapping the ball into touch as Hugo Keenan chased a Johnny Sexton kick, but the officials decided it wasn’t a probable score so no penalty try was awarded.
Healy’s try brought Ireland level while they had the man advantage, but on the half-hour mark it was the visitors who were reduced to 14.
Wayne Barnes sent Caelan Doris to the bin after he tackled Francois Cros without the ball as the France back-rower chased a kick in Ireland’s 22. This time a penalty try was awarded as Cros would have touched the ball down but for the illegal tackle.
Ireland had a chance to reduce the deficit to one point with a penalty in the closing minutes of the first half but they opted to go for the corner rather than the posts and France then won a penalty that allowed them to clear the threat.
Ireland fell away in the second half and France were able to show their attacking flair, but it’s England who will have been cheering loudest at the result.
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