Irish crown O'Driscoll's goodbye in style with victory against France
By Pirate Irwin ,AFP
March 17, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
PARIS -- Ireland won the Six Nations title on Saturday with a thrilling 22-20 victory over France to give iconic center Brian O'Driscoll the perfect end to his stellar international career.
Ireland scored three tries — Jonathan Sexton getting two — to France's two in a pulsating encounter to see them to only their second win in Paris in 42 years. Fittingly the last time in 2000 O'Driscoll was also in the side and scored a hat-trick of tries.
"The emotions are starting to kick in now," O'Driscoll told BBC.
"It feels great to be a two-time Six Nations winner. So many seconds along the years and so many disappointments, it is great to finish my career on a high. When I do hang this jersey up on the hook inside it will be with fond memories.
"I am absolutely delighted. There is a huge Irish contingent here and I am glad we gave them something to shout about."
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell added: "It is fantastic. We are delighted for Ireland and the people back home and also for Brian O'Driscoll and his family — for him to have a great finish to his career is great for everyone involved."
France won a penalty in the second minute after Steve Walsh penalized Chris Henry and Maxime Machenaud converted it for 3-0.
The Irish were taking time to settle and Dave Kearney cost them another penalty in the 14th minute when he failed to release the ball in the tackle — Machenaud made no mistake to make it 6-0.
Ireland finally made some headway into French territory and through a well worked phase of play Sexton was on hand to take a brilliant one-handed pass from Chris Henry to touch down. He missed the relatively easy conversion, however.
The Irish, though, had their tails up and when Louis Picamoles — recalled after being suspended for the Scotland match — knocked on in dropping a simple catch deep inside French territory they took full advantage.
Scrum-half Conor Murray broke into the 22 and offloaded to Trimble, who made no mistake to go over under the posts — this time Sexton made no mistake putting the Irish ahead for the first time 12-6 after 26 minutes.
Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll celebrates with the trophy after defeating France and winning the Six Nations Rugby Union tournament at the Stade de France stadium in Saint Denis, ...
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