Ireland's quest for a Six Nations Grand Slam remains on track after an impressive 32-19 victory in Dublin yesterday afternoon. Andy Farrell's side ended France's fourteen game unbeaten run in clinical fashion as they secured a vital bonus point win.
The French media have been highly complimentary of Ireland in the aftermath, with Midi Olympique declaring that the Irish are "the best rugby players in the world."
“Over the course of a magnificent match, the Irish have proven that they are today the best rugby players in the world. Courageous, Les Bleus therefore logically fell, in Dublin. We quickly understood, on Saturday, that we were living a great moment in rugby,” their article states.
Former French flanker Olivier Magne writes in newspaper Le Parisien: “We lacked offensive creativity to compete with this Irish team, which is not the best in the world for nothing. There is nothing to complain about the state of mind, the commitment of the XV of France. There were a lot of positives in our defence, but we remain a little unsatisfied by this lack of creativity.”
Thierry Dusautoir, who previously captained France and is no stranger to massive Six Nations clashes between the sides, also heaped praise on the Irish in L'Equipe: "With their usual intensity, the Irish did a lot of things right in the use of the ball, they went to play in the corridors thanks to decoys, repeated, always prioritising the rhythm, the advance.”
L'Equipe also had another headline declaring that "Ireland on the royal road to winning the tournament".
The majority of the French coverage is a ringing endorsement of the Irish side and the media at home have also reacted positively.
Irish media reacts to Six Nations win
In the Sunday Independent, Bernard Jackman points to the fact that Craig Doyle, Brian O'Driscoll and David Irwin were invited to the team hotel on Monday to speak about their documentary 'Shoulder to Shoulder'. He feels that their presence was felt on the field during the Six Nations clash.
"A great week in camp led to an incredible performance on the field yesterday. The first half especially was as good a Test match as I have seen in years," he writes.
"With the number one-ranked team in the world playing the number two it could have been a tight affair as both teams would have been afraid to make errors. But we saw two heavyweight sides go at each other without fear."
"This was France’s first defeat in 15 games and they will bounce back from it. Ireland have shown that being number one in the world sits well with us. We have a special group and they are probably already or soon will become the best Irish rugby team ever."
In the Irish Times, Malachy Clerkin argues that the gap between Ireland and France has now possibly got even wider.
Went to the rugby and wrote about France. They were brilliant and still got fairly well-beaten. That’s new. https://t.co/nXu1LxD7fd
— Malachy Clerkin (@MalachyClerkin) February 12, 2023
"Despite the best French efforts, the final verdict says they were soundly beaten. A 13-point defeat. Four tries to one. Umpteen Irish chances to make the scoreline even gaudier than it was in the end. Some monumental goal-line defence the main reason it wasn’t more."