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Championship Title For France

14th March 2007 By Munster Rugby

Championship Title For France

With just minutes to go in Paris after Euan Murray scored for Scotland, Ireland were set to win this year’s RBS Six Nations championship. But then from the restart, the French won a penalty, won a line-out, then won a scrum and after match referee Craig Joubert consulted with TMO Simon McDowell, Joubert awarded the try that kept the title in France.

In Paris, the Scots started brightly and forced a penalty which surprisingly Chris Paterson missed but he made no mistake minutes later when Nikki Walker somehow managed to rob Clement Poitrenaud after Dan Parks had lofted a perfect cross-field kick.

However the French soon got into their stride and raced into a 20-7 lead. But then as they are prone to do they lost concentration and Scotland capitalised with a try from Sean Lamont that Paterson converted to leave six points between the sides at the break.

A 52nd minute try from David Marty try converted by Lionel Beauxis put the French back in the driving seat and minutes later Paterson was fortunate not to be yellow-carded coming in as he did to kill the ball at a ruck.

Cedric Haymans was next up with a try in the corner that Beauxis failed to convert but Scotland were reduced to 14 in the 60th minute when Lamont was binned for a late tackle and France made them pay from the resultant lineout with Olivier Milloud driven over from the maul.

To their credit the Scots persisted and minutes from the end Euan Murray scored on the left to almost earn for himself the undying gratitude of the Irish nation. However right at the death, France scored from a five metre scrum to earn themselves the title.

In Rome, Ireland enjoyed their share of luck with some of the scores but were hugely impressive in the second half rout of Italy. Perhaps the crucial stage came just either side of halftime. With the first half drawing to a close when they led 13-12, they scored their third try through Gordon D’Arcy but there was one and possibly two forward passes which went unnoticed by referee Jonathan Kaplan or his officials. Then in the second half with the Italians pressing, Denis Hickie collected a wild pass metres from his own line to take play to the Italian line and a try for Girvan Dempsey.

After that Ireland simply ripped the Italians apart. When Hickie affected that break out, Ronan O’Gara’s sublime inside pass put Girvan Dempsey over  and soon after Shane Horgan took Hickie’s pass to score on the right.

There were to be three further Irish tries and the only quibble there could be about that second half – given the importance of points differential – was the decision to run rather than kick a late penalty because that phase ended with the injury time try to Italy.

Then again that’s the marvellous thing about hindsight. Had they managed to score a ninth try from that move we would be lauding their audacity and praising their bravery.







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