Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has much to ponder before the World Cup next month
Declan Kidney still has plenty of work to do before the World Cup kicks off next month after his Ireland side lost 26-22 to France at the Aviva Stadium.
Having lost 19-12 to Les Bleus in Bordeaux last week the men in green returned to Irish soil desperate for a morale-boosting win.
And the home side went into an 8-0 lead thanks to Cian Healy’s try but France hit back with 16 unanswered points to take control of the game.
Jonathan Sexton and Sean O’Brien added late tries for the home side but it will do little to lift Kidney’s mood, especially with Healy and Felix Jones picking up injuries.
With Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy back in the fold Ireland started the game brightly and were on the scoreboard first thanks to a Sexton penalty.
But there weren’t done there as Healy barged his way over for the first try of the game.
But that only served to fire up the French, who lost fly-half David Skrela to injury, and their first points of the game came in the 24th minute thanks to a Morgan Parra penalty.
Replacement Francois Trinh-Duc then added a drop-goal before Cedric Heymans touched down on the half-hour, Parra added the extras before kicking another penalty for a 16-8 half-time lead.
Parra added another three points four minutes after the break before a poor pass from Tomas O’Leary gifted Trinh-Duc a try.
With France taking their foot off the gas Sexton and O’Brien touched down but Ireland couldn’t claw it back, one bright spark being Stephen Ferris’ return for his first action since January.