* Scrum half Parra seals win for France
* Ireland lose third successive warm up
(Adds quotes and update on Jones injury)
By Conor Humphries
DUBLIN, Aug 20 France outclassed Ireland for the
second time in seven days with a convincing 26-22 win in a World
Cup warm-up on Saturday, ending their preparations on a high and
leaving Ireland needing to regroup after a third successive
After a weak opening, France scored 26 unanswered points,
including tries from fullback Cedric Heymans and flyhalf
Francois Trinh-Duc on either side of the interval. Scrum half
Morgan Parra kicked 13 points and was named man of the match.
Ireland dominated the first 20 minutes with a debut try from
prop Cian Healy and a penalty from flyhalf Jonathan Sexton, but
lost their momentum and were punished for sloppy play.
A late surge produced two consolation tries in the last five
minutes from Sexton and flanker Sean O'Brien, but the Irish
never looked like they could overturn the French lead.
France will go into the World Cup next month, where they
face hosts New Zealand in the group stage, with a
morale-boosting two wins from two warm-up games despite resting
several senior players.
Ireland, already near full strength, will have to try to
bounce back against England in the last of their four warm-up
games next Saturday. They will need a confidence boost if they
want to get past Australia and a resurgent Italy in the group
stage to reach their first quarter-final for eight years.
"It wasn't what we wanted but we need to learn from
it," said Irish coach Declan Kidney. "But are we
concerned ? N ot really. Little things can
have a huge effect on test matches."
Ireland's World Cup preparations were further dented when
promising fullback Felix Jones, making his first start for the
team, was carried off the pitch after injuring his foot.
Kidney said there was no break, but his ligaments
m ight be damaged.
Ireland looked good early on when Sexton opened the scoring
with a penalty in the second minute. A sustained bout of
pressure allowed Healy to surge past Parra across the line for
his first score for Ireland.
Things began to unravel after Sexton missed his conversion
and sloppy play by Ireland allowed Parra to pull France back
into the game with a penalty that was followed by a 48-metre
drop goal from fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc.
France stepped up a gear and went into the lead when centre
Aurelia Rougerie sliced through a confused Irish defence and fed
fullback Haymans who touched down near the posts, giving Parra
an easy conversion.
A mistimed tackle by Keith Earls gave Parra another chance
to slot over, leaving the score 16-8 at half time.
"They kept the scor e board
ticking over even when they weren ' t
pos s ession . I t was smart
football from them," said Irish captain
Brian O'Dr i sco l l.
France extended their lead in the 45th minute with a penalty
after right wing Andrew Trimble played the ball offside.
A wild pass by Irish scrum half Tomas O'Leary was
intercepted by Trinh-Duc who galloped over the line. Parra
converted to take France to 26 points.
Ireland salvaged some pride when Sexton and O'Brien crossed
the line in the 75th and 80th minutes and reserve fly half Ronan
O'Gara slotted over two conversions.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)