Sport

Johnny Sexton back to his best as Ireland steamroller France into submission

Johnny Sexton back to his best as Ireland steamroller France into submission

Ireland rediscovered their 2018 mojo to thump France 26-14 and sustain their slender Guinness Six Nations title hopes.

Captain Rory Best, talisman fly-half Johnny Sexton, Jack Conan and Keith Earls all crossed as Joe Schmidt’s men found form, with Yoann Huget and Camille Chat claiming late consolations for the disorganised French.

Ireland’s bonus-point win means victory against grand slam-chasing Wales in Cardiff on Saturday could yet sweep the title, though that would also require an England slip-up against Scotland at Twickenham.

Schmidt’s men finally showed the kind of form that elevated them above all comers in 2018, a year that comprised a grand slam and second victory over New Zealand.

Skipper Best marked his final Six Nations match in Dublin before his intended retirement at the end of the calendar year in style, with a try and another top performance.

Paul Rees’s report to follow

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