Tries from captain Charles Ollivon and winger Damian Penaud saw France claim their first Guinness Six Nations win in Dublin for ten years in an absorbing battle with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.
The hosts were in charge for much of the first half but were made to pay for failing to turn their dominance into points.
An Antoine Dupont break helped set up Ollivon to score in the left corner, while Penaud added a second try mid-way through the second half with a diving finish.
A Ronan Kelleher try and Ross Byrne penalty gave Ireland hope of a comeback but France held on, consigning Ireland to defeat and making this the first time in Six Nations history that they have lost their opening two matches.
For France, it’s another massive victory under head coach Fabien Galthie and sees them top the Guinness Six Nations table in the first rest week.
On Saturday, Jonny May’s spectacular flying finish helped England bounce back in style from their Calcutta Cup defeat in Round 1 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations as they notched a convincing 41-18 victory over Italy at Twickenham.
While the reigning champions’ Grand Slam hopes may have been thwarted at the first hurdle, it won’t have escaped their notice that they still won the 2020 Guinness Six Nations despite a Round 1 loss to France and this impressive win could prove to be the first step to replicating that in 2021.
England’s disappointing start to their title defence against Scotland a week ago prompted some soul-searching ahead of the game and Italy’s flying start at Twickenham – as Monty Ioane crossed the whitewash inside three minutes – won’t have helped their mood.
However, the response to going behind will have delighted Eddie Jones as a much more free-flowing display, built on quick ball, saw Jonny Hill, Anthony Watson and May all dot down before half-time.
May’s score was his 32nd at international level and moved him into sole possession of second place on England’s all-time tries list behind only the great Rory Underwood (49).
Watson’s interception try after the break sealed the bonus point before Jack Willis powered over from close-range and although Tommaso Allan crossed for Italy, Elliot Daly rounded off the scoring for the hosts.
The result maintained England’s impeccable record against Italy and the Azzurri’s wait for a first-ever win at Twickenham goes on.
Story courtesy/Six Nations