There are few more satisfying things in sport than earning a statement victory with the cordite of controversy left wafting in the air. Now read on…
That’s exactly where Ireland found themselves on Saturday evening following their second win from as many outings in this season’s Guinness Six Nations Championship.
With 13 points between the sides when Wayne Barnes called a halt to his day’s work, you might be wondering what the furore was about. The trouble, though, cropped up well before the long whistle.
Ireland got away to a flying start, with early tries from Andrew Porter and Hugo Keenan and James Lowe. However, a five-pointer from Damian Penaud and the boot of Thomas Ramos kept Les Bleus tight on Irish tails.
The brouhaha surrounded the try scored by James Lowe. Now, video evidence would suggest the French may have had a case, as Lowe’s boot had strayed into touch before grounding the ball. However, nowhere have more teams been robbed by dodgy TMO – and Touch Judge – decisions than in France.
What goes around comes around. Particularly nauseating was to see one former England skipper kicking up a stink when the said individuals were in no position to talk about crossing boundaries.
Anyway, aside from that talked-about score, Leinster’s Lowe was hugely influential throughout. With his strong running and incisive kicking game, not only did he engineer the lineout which was the basis for Garry Ringrose’s insurance try, his lethal left boot was a vital tool in pinning the visitors in their own territory.
For this observer, the reduction in productivity post teabreak would be a concern, especially with the bastions of the chariot still to roll onto the horizon.
Mind you, if I was the former England player referred to earlier, there should be plenty in the ‘in tray’ closer to home to keep their mind occupied without having to worry about the French.