Classic Match: France and Ireland share rare draw in Paris

It’s time for another delve into the archives as we look at a classic Six Nations match from yesteryear.

It’s time for another delve into the archives as we look at a classic Six Nations match from yesteryear.

This week, we’re off to Paris and in 2012 France and Ireland battled it out for a draw – the first between the two sides since 1985 in Dublin.

The two teams had been scheduled to meet in round two only for the weather to intervene and a frozen pitch at Stade de France to lead to a postponement.

Ireland returned to France after round three for the re-scheduled match which saw a tense affair end all square.


Hosts France opened their 2012 Six Nations accounts with a 30-12 success over Italy while Ireland suffered a two-point defeat at the Aviva Stadium to Wales.

The Irish bounced back just a week later though by putting five tries on Italy, Tommy Bowe grabbing two, as they earned a 42-10 success in Dublin.

France meanwhile had their second success as they went to Murrayfield in Edinburgh and came away with a 23-17 triumph thanks to tries from Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard.


Clément Poitrenaud started at full-back for France instead of Medard with Vincent Clerc and Julien Malzieu completing the back three and Aurélien Rougerie and Fofana in the centres.

Parra and Trinh-Duc maintained their half-back pairing from Scotland with Julien Bonnaire coming into the back row instead of Louis Picamoles who was on the bench.

Ireland meanwhile named the same XV that had beaten Italy the previous week with Bowe on the wing and Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton as the half-backs.

Paul O’Connell captained the side from the second row alongside Donncha O’Callaghan with Mike Ross, Rory Best and Cian Healy making up the front row.


Bowe opened the scoring after 13 minutes as he latched onto a loose Rougerie pass in midfield and ran in underneath the posts at the Stade de France.

Parra and Sexton exchanged penalties as the scoreboard moved to 10-3 before the French scrum-half added another three points from the tee.

But just as France had worked their way back into the match, a moment of magic from Bowe saw him score his second try of the evening in fine style.

The winger chipped the ball over the scrambling French defence before racing onto collect his kick and dive over the tryline to extend Ireland’s advantage to 17-6 at the break.

Parra kicked three more points after half-time before Fofana gathered a loose ball and showed electric pace and power to sprint clear for France’s first try.

A fourth Parra penalty brought the scores level and France could have clinched it at the death but Lionel Beauxis’ drop goal attempt was unsuccessful.


Ireland captain O’Connell said: “There’s certainly a big feeling of defeat and an opportunity lost. We scored an intercept try and one really good, well worked try.

“We then conceded a really soft, poor try and we’re really disappointed with our second-half performance.

“I’m not sure what the penalty count was, I think it was 6-1 which makes it very difficult to compete. We’re very frustrated and very disappointed.”

“It didn’t feel like we had drawn the game in the dressing room afterwards, it felt like we had lost,” said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

“The glass half-full part of it is that we came back from 17-6 down but you can’t give points to Ireland when it is close to Irish weather.

“We know we need to be better. We need to be much more clever with the strategy and much more clinical.”


The draw ended Ireland’s hopes of Six Nations success in 2012 and though they beat Scotland 32-14 they were beaten 30-9 at Twickenham and ended the campaign third in the table.

France’s Grand Slam dreams were also over and they finished fourth after being beaten by England in Paris 24-22 and going down 16-9 to champions Wales in Cardiff.

France 17 Tries: Fofana Penalties: Parra 4

Ireland 17 Tries: Bowe 2 Penalties: Sexton Conversions: Sexton 2

France: Poitrenaud, Clerc, Rougerie, Fofana, Malzieu, Trinh-Duc, Parra, Poux, Szarzewski, Mas, Pape, Maestri, Dusautoir, Bonnaire, Harinordoquy Replacements: Servat, Debaty, Nallet, Picamoles, Dupuy, Beauxis, Mermoz

Ireland: Kearney, Bowe, Earls, D’Arcy, Trimble, Sexton, Murray, Healy, Best, Ross, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Ferris, O’Brien, Heaslip Replacements: Cronin, Court, Donnacha, O’Mahony, Reddan, O’Gara, McFadden