Ireland’s Rugby World Cup preparations hit another speed bump in Bordeaux as France held on for a seven point, 19-12, win on Saturday night.
The French led 13-0 at one stage in the first-half after a quite brilliant try from Vincent Clerc, a man well known to the Irish defense.
Ronan O’Gara, who grabbed all 12 points for the visitors, kick-started the comeback with a penalty to leave the French ahead by 13-3 at the break.
The arrival of substitutes Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip did make a difference for the Irish who failed to take a couple of try chances that fell to Rob Kearney and Keith Earls in the second period.
Coach Declan Kidney wasn’t keen to take comfort from the comeback either, even after three O’Gara penalties got his side to within one point of the French, 13-12, in the 58th minute before they conceded two late penalties to Yachvili.
“I’d hate to go back into the past and say that I’m glad we had a really good second-half,” said Kidney.
“That’s the sort of thing we would have said in the past. We lost the game and that’s what we need to look at it.
“In the first-half we did a bit of damage to ourselves because we didn’t hang on to the ball too well.
“At the start France played well and we didn’t play like we’re capable of. When you put those together you’ll end up doing a lot of defense.
“Our defense has had a lot of practice over the last couple of weeks. We must look at doing more of what we did in the second half, but one half doesn’t count - you must do that for 80 minutes.”
Full-back Kearney limped out of the action with a groin problem in only his second game since a serious knee injury.
“Rob pulled up with a tight groin. I’d hope it’s not serious,” said Kidney.
Ireland host the French in another World Cup warm-up game at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday evening.
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