France team manager Raphael Ibanez was delighted with his side’s tenacity on both sides of the ball as Les Bleus secured a first win in Dublin in 10 years with a 15-13 victory over Ireland.
A try in either half from Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud helped the visitors to seal the win at the Aviva Stadium, with Matthieu Jalibert adding an extra three points with the boot.
Ronan Kelleher replied for the hosts to set up a grandstand finish in the Round 2 affair, but a staunch French defensive display kept Andy Farrell’s side at bay in the closing stages as they held onto the win.
And Ibanez was elated with France’s determination to hold onto the win, leaving them top of the table on nine points after their two matches in this year’s Championship.
“We are very pleased with the win, it was a hard-fought win away from home so it’s a big relief for the boys,” Ibanez said.
“Our defence was outstanding throughout the whole game, it showed our team spirit and character was there.
“Of course there were a few mistakes during the game and Ireland played with a lot of bravery, but in the end it’s fantastic for us to get away with a win.”
France looked as brilliant as ever with the ball in hand in Dublin and showcased their familiar flair and quick-thinking mid-way through the first half to take the lead.
Despite being a man down due to Bernard Le Roux’s sin-binning, fast French hands saw the ball fling from right to left in a blink of an eye, leaving Ollivon to go over in the corner to give the visitors a half-time advantage.
And they were at it again after the break, as Jalibert’s looping pass was collected by Brice Dulin, who shrugged off green shirts to tee up Penaud for the deciding score.
Kelleher crossed soon after to keep the scores tight, before Ross Byrne’s penalty drew them within two points, but the 2020 runners up kept things tight at the back to secure the points.
The win in Dublin leaves France and Wales as the only two teams yet to taste defeat in this year’s Championship, and Ibanez is looking forward to continuing that streak when Scotland go to Paris in Round 3.
“We’ll take it step by step and we’ll enjoy the win tonight. We’ll regroup as a team and be ready for the next challenge.”