Based on the form that the Irish clubs I had a very good feeling going into the six nations of 2014, it was also going to be O Driscoll’s final game in a Green Jersey, and with Ireland v France being the last game on super Saturday it had all the potential for a great day out. And if things went badly and Ireland crumbled in the first few games in the season, we would still be in Paris for food and wine, and to see O Driscoll’s final game in the Green Shirt.
We met up with Emma and Julian over there and took in a bit of culture, but also a lot of booze and food. We also got to catch up with Sarah who I had not seen in yonks and after yet more wonderful food we hit Au Lapan Agile.
The day of the game we also met some really nice English guys while pre-gaming, all in all a great trip. We also met some real characters who were a rugby team up from Lyon.
I did fail Jess a bit in that we missed everything she wanted to see, but I think that I got away with it, she may not have noticed.
Anyhoo back to the Rugby, it was an incredible game and our seats were top notch, watching the game again after getting home I saw that it was not as long as it felt in the stadium. I swear the last 10 minutes of the game felt like they took hours. I have rarely yelled as loud as when Rob Kearney went for a Garry Owen that he was not able to collect when up by two points at 78 minutes. More difficult for France to win if you don’t kick the ball to them for no reason. Then with 78:48 on the clock they went to the TMO to see if France’s try was from a forward pass and the TMO took a really long time to decide that it was forward. Then just to keep it tense Ireland lost the scrum against the head. Ireland was able to wrap it up into a Maul and win the game. Final result France 20 – Ireland 22.
Our French hosts were incredibly gracious, not just fans as we left the stadium but when we made it back to our bar from the morning, our friends from Lyon treated us like we were conjuring Generals coming home. They sang, cheered bought us drinks it was fantastic. We were late getting back to the bar as we were exhausted after the game and stopped for a quiet dinner.
There was a good bit of outrage on the Internet after Bastareaud knocked Sexton out, while Bastareaud did have his arm up, something that was clear from our seats but I didn’t see on the TV was that Bastareaud clearly knew he had knocked him out, rolled him into the recovery position and called on the physios. He plays hard, but to me it was not dirty and when he knocked Sexton out he did the right thing. He didn’t try to take advantage of being a man over and brought the game to a screeching halt.
Many more images as well as the above ones in much higher resolution can be snagged from my flickr album from the trip.