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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 29 July, 2014

Memory lane: five classic clashes with the French

We’ve had our ups and downs with les Bleus over the years. More downs if truth be told, but it’s always compulsive viewing.

Image: YouTube screen grab

WE’RE NOT HERE to sugar coat things.

When green meets blue it’s rarely pretty. More often than not, Irish players depart the field, head in hands and wonder what might have been.

‘If only France hadn’t scored those 14 points at such a vital time’ we wish.

There’s room for optomism too, though.

Sure, Paris is Paris and we’ve not won there since BOD was a lad, but we can beat them at home and we ran them very close in Bordeaux during the summer. The Stade de France rugby pitch, right?

To get the juices flowing before the big game tonight (let’s face it you’ll need some time-filler waiting around for this unsociably late kick off) we’ve put the choke tackle on five encounters which little Irish and French rugby history.

Voila.

2011: Heartbreak

This time last year France were the opponents on Valentines weekend (De ja vu?) and it was a hell of a game.

The presence of Tomas O’leary and Luke Fitzgerald almost give this clip a weird nostalgic feel already and, from the moment Fergus McFadden rams his way over the tryline, it’s a thriller. And it might have had a thrilling result to match had Sean Cronin managed to hold onto O’Driscoll’s pop pass in the dying moments.



YouTube credit: TheRugbyVault

2006: Too little, too late

Six years ago we travelled to Paris and generously shared 74 points with France.

Unfortunately, when we join the action here, Ireland are already 43-3 down by the time they set about scoring four tries with Ronan O’Gara, Donncha O’Callaghan and Gordon D’Arcy running riot.

Unless you would really like to punish yourself, I’d advise against re-watching parts one through four.



YouTube credit: Matt8929

2009: A grand plan

Ah, those were the days. Attacks strarting in our own half, backs, running from deep hitting the ball at speed… maybe next year.



YouTube credit: conorryan79

1989: Typical French

Seven points down and severely under the cosh at Lansdowne Road, les Bleus accidently whip up a little bit of magic. Their clearance kicks fail, so they revert to ‘plan A’ and run run run.

The result is Serge Blanco under the posts and the visitors ended up winning 21-26.



YouTube credit: dutilloy

The greatest: O’Driscoll arrives in 2000.

What can you say about this man, this match that hasn’t already been said? How much did this treble mean to Irish rugby? It was item one on the news for a start.

We all know the scores, but also be on the lookout for some incredible trysaving tackles from Fabien Pelous and Denis Hickie.



Youtube credit: swgarret1980

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