A lacklustre performance from Ireland saw them crash to a defeat in Bordeaux this weekend, against a France team that were considerably beneath their best, but at times only had to go through the motions of Test rugby to secure victory. Despite a fight-back in the second half, the schoolboy errors and naïve play they offered up by Ireland in the first half simply left them too much to do on an afternoon where the temperature was high, but the quality on display was low.
By half-time, the score was a resounding 13-3 following a converted try by Vincent Clerc and two Dimitri Yachvili penalties which were only replied to by a solitary penalty by Ronan O’Gara following a rare Irish excursion into the opposition half. The 2011 Rugby World Cup betting shows Ireland will need to improve if they are to do anything at all in the tournament.
However, the second half saw Ireland come out as a far better unit – both in attack and defence – and the introduction of Munster lock Paul O’Connell into the pack saw them attempt to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Despite the increased pressure resulting in three more kicked penalties by O’Gara, the French had more than enough to hold off the Irish by adding to their half-time score with two more kicked penalties from the unerringly accurate Yachvili to leave Ireland seven points adrift of the hosts.
A late spell of Irish pressure, including a five yard scrum and an attacking line-out in an advanced position, still wasn’t enough to spoil the French party, and Les Bleus will head into the second of their two World Cup warm-up matches against the Irish at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin next weekend full of confidence. Those following the Will Greenwood rugby betting tips should bear this in mind.
If Ireland are to shed their tag of perennial underachievers at major tournaments then they will need to step up their ruthlessness and cut back on the handling errors that blighted them in the first half. In September the Wallabies and the All Blacks will certainly not be as wasteful as the French were this weekend – and given the same opportunities that were afforded to France, would be out of sight by half time.
Next week will be an important game to see if they can learn from their mistakes – failure to do so should see their odds of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy lengthen considerably.
Guest Author: Will Stevens