Ireland take credit but not the victory

IRELAND (22) vs FRANCE (25)

IRELAND head coach Declan Kidney admitted his side only had themselves to blame after France escaped from the first RBS 6 Nations match to be played at the Aviva Stadium with a scarcely deserved victory.

Fergus McFadden, scrum-half Tomas O’Leary and Jamie Heaslip all crossed as the hosts, playing by far the more adventurous and cohesive rugby, won the try-count 3-1, but the concession of needless penalties allowed the French, aided by the boot of Morgan Parra, to make it two wins from two.

And Kidney refused to take consolation from an ambitious display, undermined by the number of errors. “The feeling is that’s an opportunity lost. We had too many turnovers,” said Kidney. “We won the try-count 3-1 but still lost the match so we’ll have to look again at the penalties to see which ones were under our control.

“We need to keep playing this way and get used to doing it at Test level. It is the right way forward for us.”

Ireland held a deserved 15-12 half-time lead and the Grand Slam champions appeared there for the taking.

Winger Maxime Medard crossed to help France back into the driving seat until No8 Heaslip crashed over in the right corner to set up a tense finish which saw Les Bleus just about hold on.