Antoine Dupont praised the performance of his forwards as France kept their Grand Slam dream alive with a thrilling 30-24 victory over Ireland in the Guinness Six Nations.
The Les Bleus captain went over after just 67 seconds as the home side raced into an early lead in Paris before Mack Hansen responded with a try inside the opening ten minutes.
Melvyn Jaminet’s boot put France 19-7 ahead at the break and another penalty at the start of the second half established a 15-point lead before Ireland roared back with two quickfire tries.
But a second French try by Cyril Baille, and an impressive performance from the pack, maintained their perfect start to the 2022 Championship as they made it two wins from two.
And after last week’s opening round win over Italy, Dupont was delighted with the way his team – and the forwards, in particular – raised their game to end Ireland’s nine-match winning run.
“We knew we would have to raise our game compared to the Italy game, that was what we said to ourselves during the week,” said the France captain.
“Everyone was aware and we were also aware that we were capable of doing so.
“We were desperate to play this game, I think that showed, even if we had a lapse at the start of the second half. The desire was there throughout.
“When you play in the half-backs with a pack that is moving forward like that, of course it’s a delight. With a bit more consistency, we could have had a more comfortable end to the game.
“But we aren’t going to sniff at this win.”