France and Ireland play out 17-all draw

by staff

France has shrugged off a poor first-half performance to draw 17-17 at home to Ireland in Six Nations rugby.

But the result has ended French hopes of a Grand Slam and left Wales alone at the top of the standings.

The Irish have won only twice in France in the past 40 years, and not at Stade de France since 2000, but a victory on Sunday looked for the taking after winger Tommy Bowe's two tries put the visitors 17-6 up at halftime.

France failed to show much attacking creativity and profited from an Ireland lapse in midfield to get back into the game when centre Wesley Fofana scored his third try in consecutive games early in the second half.

France needed the steady kicking of scrumhalf Morgan Parra, who landed all four of his penalties.

"We're very disappointed with the result, although we came back into it well," France captain Thierry Dusautoir said.

Wales can clinch the Grand Slam by beating Italy and then France at home.

France won their opening two matches, at home to Italy and away to Scotland, and play England at Stade de France next Sunday.