"Serious teams win big away games" - Ireland fall short as big question looms 1 year ago

"Serious teams win big away games" - Ireland fall short as big question looms

Until this team wins a big away game under Andy Farrell, the stick will continue to beat them.

Jamison Gibson-Park was honest enough to make a big post-match admission, and there is one chance left to right a wrong with this Ireland team.


Six minutes into a compelling contest at Stade de France and the hosts were looking unstoppable. Six minutes of torture for Ireland. Of lads getting pulverised and getting punished for even the glimpse of an error.

Ireland would have known France were going to come out fast. It is one thing being aware of the wave that is about to come crashing down. It is another to suck in and get through it.

Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack teamed up for an early try and Melvyn Jaminet - France now, after YEARS without, have a reliable kicker - put Les Bleus 10-0 up. The noise reverberating Stade de France was deafening.

Ireland answered back with a Mack Hansen try out of nowhere, Joey Carbery converted and it was game on again. Farrell's men got to within touching distance and would do so on two more occasions, but it was not enough. France are still on for a Grand Slam while Ireland have an old, grating and familiar question to answer.


Jamison Gibson-Park

Jamison Gibson-Park on Ireland's away day failings

When Leinster and Ireland look good - as they do in the Champions Cup or in beating New Zealand - we marvel at the front- and back-row. Several of the players are called world-class and we wonder aloud if other nations are envious.

In Paris, this evening, France had the better front row and back row. Second row too. Their midfield was superior. In terms of Irish players that may have shaded their opposite numbers, we have this collection:

  • Tadhg Beirne
  • Josh van der Flier
  • Joey Carbery
  • Mack Hansen

One man that was always going to be up against it was Jamison Gibson-Park. The Leinster scrumhalf has been key to Ireland's upturn in performances and results, but Dupont showed again tonight that he is another step up.

Gibson-Park, playing with an entire team that was getting shunted back and harangued at every turn, did not have his finest hour. His kicking was poor, and his passing radar faltered with the French players bordering on offside for long tracts. He did grab a nice second half try, but he will have some questioning his place in his team. It is only natural when lads like Luke McGrath and Kieran Marmion can't even make the wider squad.

Asked about the sheer physicality of the game, after Ireland's 30-24 loss, the scrumhalf said:


"Fairly beat up now. That’s a fairly physical French side and I’m feeling the effects of it now... It’s very difficult when the crowd is behind them, they are a big physical team getting over the gainline, they are incredibly difficult to stop."

The big question that looms over this team, under Andy Farrell, is the one that the coach faced some questions about before his team had even flown out to Paris.

For all of the home success Ireland have had since Farrell took over from Joe Schmidt, they have lost five of their seven away Tests [France twice, England twice and Wales]. When that was put to Gibson-Park, he replied:

"Yeah, 100%. That was our thought process, coming here. That serious teams win big away games.

"We didn't quite get there today, but we'll get another crack, later in the championship."

That crack will be against England. Even Joe Schmidt only managed one Test win at Twickenham.


Italy should be handily dealt with, at home. If Ireland want to stay on the heels of France, they must go to London and prove their are not just a team that shines on their home patch.