Ireland have been left counting their injuries after a disappointing loss to a physical French side, following their less than enthralling encounter in Paris.
Prior to kick-off, Joe Schmidt was beaming at the return of players such as Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney, however, the former picked up another suspected hamstring injury, putting him in doubt for Ireland’s clash with England at Twickenham in a fortnight.
Unfortunately, the casualties continued to mount as Ireland lost Mike McCarthy to a nasty concussion. Winger Dave Kearney was forced off following what can only be described as a clothesline from Guilhem Guirado, which will undoubtedly be reviewed by officials.
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Schmidt felt the injuries, combined with the conditions, played a key role in Ireland’s downfall: “The conditions were tough and it was not easy to maintain the position and it was difficult to hold on to a slippery ball," he said via Reuters.
Ireland will be disappointed with the defeat, which was their first loss against France for five years.
France's physicality seemed to surprise Ireland and Les Bleus could easily have received a couple of yellow cards after some over-robust play.
Ireland out-half Jonathan Sexton was subjected to off-the-ball hits, most notably by Yoann Maestri after just 13 minutes. The French were making their presence known to the Irish.
Ireland will have to pick themselves up if they are to get anything from their visit to Twickenham, while France must also up their game further as they face a difficult trip to a strong Welsh team in the next round of fixtures.
One would imagine that an illustrious third consecutive Six Nations crown is beyond Ireland at this stage, as they have only managed to pick up one point from their first two games. France, on the other hand, are still in contention for a Grand Slam, despite performing below their usual standards.
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