Brice Dulin’s all-action display at full-back was enough to earn him the prize of Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match as France defeated Ireland 15-13 at the Aviva Stadium.
The No.15 seemed to be everywhere as Les Bleus secured a first victory in Dublin since 2011, as he excelled under the high ball, as well as making France tick when they had possession.
A try in either half from Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud was enough for Fabien Galthie’s side to take the win, as they start the 2021 Guinness Six Nations with two consecutive victories.
Ronan Kelleher got Ireland within touching distance midway through the second half at the Aviva Stadium, but the Men in Green couldn’t find a way to claw themselves back into the game.
Billy Burns got the first points of the game in Sunday’s affair, as the fly-half converted an early penalty, before Bernard Le Roux’s sin-binning left France a man light for ten first-half minutes.
But Les Bleus weren’t hampered by the loss, as quick hands across the board saw the ball eventually land in the hands of Ollivon, who sidled over to give the visitors the advantage.
It was Penaud’s try after the interval that saw Dulin make his mark, as the full-back took Jalibert’s looping pass with aplomb, before holding off James Lowe.
And after scampering towards the try line, the La Rochelle man popped the ball up to his compatriot, who went over in the corner for the game-winning score.
When he wasn’t setting up tries for his teammates, Dulin was busy doing the business at the other end of the field, as he dealt expertly with Ireland’s bombs into the 22 – with his safe hands as reliable as ever.
And the full-back gave just as good as he got with the boot, as he kicked more than anyone else in the France team, with a grand total of 423 metres gained, giving his side the perfect platform to control the game in Dublin.
Even without the ball Dulin was exceptional, with an 100% tackle success rate helping to keep the late Irish surge at bay, and contribute to his side topping the table after Round 2.