'It's going to be great for Ireland if Scotland are as bad at the World Cup' - Flannery
France are back and, by God, were they a joy to watch.
For far too long, Les Bleus have been a rabble. The days of Joué have been few and far between over the past decade as Ireland, England and Wales have taken a strange-hold of the northern hemisphere.
Rugby fans would have been forgiven for wondering if the cockerel would ever rediscover its' proud strut. On Saturday, at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, there were blue shoots. France ran in five tries and kept Scotland from crossing their tryline to record an emphatic 32-3 victory. It was the first time in 31 Tests the Scots failed to score a try.
Sebastien Vahaamahina, Alvereti Raka (on debut), Damian Penaud, Antoine Dupont and Camille Chat all looked class as the poor Scots were shredded. France led 20-3 at the break and, in truth, it could have been a lot worse for the visitors. Maxime Medard crossed for his second try after the break and Dupont added another.
On Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby [from 15:00 below], Barry Murphy, Andrew Trimble and Jerry Flannery discussed the French blow-out and what it could potentially mean for Ireland's World Cup hopes.
"From an Irish point of view," said Flannery, "it bodes well that Scotland were so poor.
"It's going to be great for Ireland if Scotland are a bad as they showed there. They were really, really poor."
Ireland's opening World Cup group game is against Gregor Townsend's Scotland on Sunday, September 22.
"I thought France were phenomenal. I thought Penaud and Dupont were phenomenal," Flannery began, "but I don't know if France were... I don't want to get lulled into a [sense of], 'Wow, France are going to be amazing at the World Cup', because that's so easy to do because the World Cup is so close.
"If you watch the Top 14 in France, it's slow. It's so slow and a lot of players are unfit. So there's a lot of logic to what you're saying [about them being better with a full pre-season together]... so if they can pull all those together from across the league, get them fit and get them aligned to one purpose. There are a lot of good young players coming through so hopefully it's not just a flash in the pan."
"They do have some very good players," Flannery added, "but it's about getting them aligned, because they were a disgrace in the Six Nations."
Trimble believes that many rugby supporters are 'closet France fans' who want to see them back to their best, but he feels one good game does not prove that they are back. That said, Les Bleus play Scotland in Edinburgh next Saturday and another decent outing may convince the former Ireland winger that something positive may well be brewing.
"If they can back it up," he said, "then it may be worth having that conversation again."