Farrell 'couldn't be more proud' of Ireland players despite Six Nations defeat to France

Farrell 'couldn't be more proud' of Ireland players despite Six Nations defeat to France

COACH Andy Farrell has said he is proud of his players after Ireland claimed an unlikely bonus point in their Six Nations defeat in Paris.

Melvyn Jaminet's fifth penalty of the game just three minutes after the restart gave France a 22-7 lead.

However, two Irish tries in the ensuing six minutes, from Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park, reduced the arrears to just a point.

Ultimately, an ill-disciplined opening 40 minutes cost Ireland as France ran out 30-24 winners, but Farrell expressed his pride at his side's second-half determination.

'Not in the script'

"Ten points down after six minutes certainly wasn't in the script, but fair play to France," said Farrell.

"Obviously, getting to a stage early on in the second half where it was 22-7, that [the fightback] shows everything about our side — the character, the guts, the fitness levels, the want to go and play and get ourselves back in the game.

"I couldn't be more proud of that."

He added: "It shows what we're about, it shows that we've got the courage to go and put our game out there when we're under pressure."

Jamison Gibson-Park’s converted try brought Ireland to within a point of France having trailed by 15 points just minutes earlier (Image: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

In a frantic opening six minutes, Ireland went 10-0 down through an Antoine Dupont try, with Jaminet adding the extras before extending the lead following a ruck penalty.

However, within just two minutes, only a single score separated Ireland from their hosts.

Making just his second appearance, Mack Hansen waded into a throng of France players before plucking Joey Carbery's restart out of the air and sprinting into the corner.

Mack Hansen scored a try just seven seconds after the restart (Image: Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Carbery converted but it was the last Irish score of the half as three further penalties from Jaminet gave France a 19-7 lead at the break.

The full-back extended the advantage immediately after the interval before Ireland gave their hosts a scare, but a Cyril Baille try on 53 minutes got Les Bleus back on track.

Carbery and Jaminet traded penalties in the final 10 minutes before a relieved Romain Ntamack booted the ball out to consign Ireland to a first defeat in 10 matches.

'Courage and character'

Despite the loss, Farrell said the experience would stand his side in good stead as they prepare to face Italy in two weeks' time, with the coach hinting he would make changes for the Dublin clash.

"We get a point here and at 22-7 you're probably thinking that's not on the cards," he said.

"But again, the courage and character that got us the bonus point here will stand to us."

He added: "We're a squad and there are certain boys that need some game time and they'll be given that, and there's some boys that need a rest to lick their wounds and recover properly.

"We'll analyse that game like we do every other game and make sure we come bouncing into the Italy game."