France remain undefeated in Six Nations on the back of Melvyn Jaminet’s boot

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France have underlined their status as Six Nations favourites but had to hold on for a 30-24 win over Ireland at the Stade de France after having scored their opening try in just 70 seconds.

It was a second home win in a row for France, who beat Italy last Sunday, and they are now the only side who can complete this season’s grand slam in Europe’s great annual rugby event.

France scored tries on Saturday through captain Antoine Dupont and loosehead Cyril Baille, while fullback Melvyn Jaminet kicked six penalties and a conversion.

Australian-born Mack Hansen, in his second Test, Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park were Ireland’s try scorers, with Joey Carberry converting all three and slotting over a late penalty.

The clash was billed as a potential early title decider and had a high tempo with plenty of Gallic flair and a never-say-die attitude from the Irish.

It looked early on, however, as if France might run away with it. Dupont crashed over in the second minute after halfback Romain Ntamack’s clever half step and inside pass allowed the skipper to get the game off to a fiery start.

Jaminet extended the lead to 10-0 in the seventh minute but from the kick off after his successful first penalty Irish wing Hansen plucked the ball out of the air to go over for his maiden international try that caught the French cold.

Jaminet then kicked over three more penalties for a 19-7 halftime lead and another soon after the break to extend it.

Ireland began an impressive comeback when van der Flier went over from a lineout five minutes into the second half and, five minutes later, scrumhalf Gibson-Park broke off the loose scrum and darted to the line after spotting a hole in the French defence.

Conversions from Carberry, who was starting his first Six Nations match in place of the injured Johnny Sexton, brought the score back to 22-21.

But France were quick to re-establish a buffer with New Zealand-born Uini Atonio’s push to the line setting up a try for his fellow front-rower Baille.

Ireland elected to go for posts with a penalty seven minutes from time to make it 27-24, but they might have been more ambitious and kicked for a lineout and maul opportunity.

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France’s victory was confirmed by a late Jaminet penalty after he had crossed over the line but had his own try ruled out when referee Angus Gardner determined it had been held up.

France are now in the driving seat in the competition as they seek a first title since 2010.

“It was really physical game, but the win was made by 22 players,” said France man of the match Gregory Alldritt.

“We have a huge away game in Scotland in two weeks, and we are not thinking about anything more than that.”


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