Ireland 22-26 France

Ireland's worrying World Cup build-up continued as they were again beaten by France in Dublin.

Cian Healy's try helped the Irish lead 8-0 but Les Bleus hit back with 16 unanswered points before the break, including a Cedric Heymans try.

A wild Tomas O'Leary pass gifted a second French try, to Francois Trinh-Duc after the break.

Jonathan Sexton and Sean O'Brien scored late tries but injuries to Healy and Felix Jones compounded Irish concerns.

Healy hobbled off after half-time while Jones' hopes of being in the 30-man World Cup squad to be announced on Monday could be in tatters after he was stretchered off with a suspected ankle injury.

With Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy both starting after missing the recent defeats by Wales and France in Bordeaux last Saturday, the Irish made a lively start and the early pressure yielded a sixth-minute penalty for Sexton.

As the Irish backs exhibited quick hands, a bulldozing run from O'Brien increased the pressure on the French in the eighth minute and the move concluded with Healy barging his way over the opposition line.

France's early difficulties included losing injured fly-half David Skrela who was replaced by Trinh-Duc.

However after being on the back foot for the opening 15 minutes, France suddenly began a fightback.

Alexis Palisson's run needed a crucial tackle by young Irish full-back Jones with a lean-looking Paul O'Connell doing the mopping up on the ground.

Parra's penalty got the French on the scoreboard in the 24th minute after Keith Earls had been caught in possession.

A dreadful clearance by O'Leary was then punished by Trinh-Duc's thumping drop-goal from 48 metres in the 28 minutes as the momentum swung France's way.

O'Driscoll appeared to be at fault for Heyman's try on the half hour as the Irish captain allowed Aurelien Rougerie to step inside him in midfield.

Parra converted the try and with the Irish rapidly losing their way, another penalty from the scrum-half increased the French lead to 16-8 by half-time.

As France continued to produce all the pressure after the break, Parra added another penalty in the 44th minute to leave 11 points between the teams.

O'Leary's nervy display culminated with his wild pass, after a botched scrum move, being intercepted by Trinh-Duc who ran in a simple try from the edge of the Irish 22.

Eoin Reddan was introduced moments later but Parra's conversion had extended the French lead to an apparently out-of-sight 18 points.

With the French appearing to ease up in the closing stages, Sexton and O'Brien were able to barge over for late tries but the scores could not mask Irish struggles.

Stephen Ferris was introduced for his first action since January after injury while Luke Fitzgerald produced a late cameo but there were few positives for the home side.

Ireland: F Jones; A Trimble, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, K Earls; J Sexton, T O'Leary; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; S O'Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Replacements: J Flannery for Best 60, T Court for Healy 50, M McCarthy for O'Callaghan 75, S Ferris for Jennings 60, E Reddan for O'Leary 53, R O'Gara for D'Arcy 67, L Fitzgerald for Jones 68.

France: C Heymans, M Medard, A Rougerie, F Estebanez, A Palisson, D Skrela, M Parra, J Poux, D Szarzewski, N Mas, P Pape, L Nallet, F Ouedraogo, L Picamoles, J Bonnaire.

Replacements: G Guirado for Szarzewski 53, F Barcella for Poux 40, J Pierre for Pape 60, D Yachvili for Parra 78, F Trinh-Duc for Skrela 10.

Not used: R Lakafia, V Clerc

Referee: C Joubert (South Africa)

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