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Published: 16:21 | 13/2/16

France edge past Ireland in Paris

Second half comeback sinks Schmidt's side

France came fighting back in the second of their Six Nations clash with Ireland to secure a narrow 10-9 win in the Stade de France.

The defeat to France was Ireland's first against them in six competitive games with Maxime Medard's try clinching the victory against a bruised and battered opponent.

Medard's 70th-minute score came after a long period of French pressure and Jules Plisson's conversion put Guy Noves' side clear, a kick which proved to be the winning score.

Injuries eventually took a huge toll after Sean O'Brien, Dave Kearney, Mike McCarthy and Johnny Sexton all had to be replaced in the 80 minutes.

Both O'Brien and Dave Kearney retired in the opening half hour while a blood injury meant McCarthy was absent for a period of the match before he was stretchered off in the final quarter after a painful-looking clash of heads with Leinster team-mate Jack McGrath.

O'Brien's knee injury looked like one which will keep the Carlow native out of action for some time with Tommy O'Donnell earned his 11th cap as his replacement.

Kearney's injury was to his shoulder and was sustained in a ruck and the younger of the brothers was shaken earlier by a brutal, high hit, ignored by referee Jaco Peyper, one of a number of incidents he failed to fully penalise; Sexton was the victim of a cheap, late shoulder from Yoann Maestri for which Peyper gave a penalty but not the minimum yellow card it merited.

Despite the thundering nature of many of the challenges they were receiving, Ireland produced several moments of quality rugby and three penalties from Sexton had given Ireland a 9-3 advantage at the break but they were left to rue not building more of a lead after dominating the first half.

Having the disadvantage of only a six-day turnaround from last Sunday's draw with Wales, Joe Schmidt's side wilted late on as Les Bleus' second half pressure finally counted, and they also failed to score in the final 40 minutes.

Sexton's withdrawal in the final 10 minutes seemed to end Ireland's challenge with them unable to provide a final flourish.

The defeat means that Ireland's hopes of a winning an unprecedented third successive Six Nations title are now hugely doubtful while the French remain on course for a possible Grand Slam after their second straight win, although their performance level will have to lift by several notches for them to have a chance.

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