- Publish Date
- Monday, 12 October 2015, 7:28AM
It's France - could it be any other nation?
Ireland 24 France 9
The All Blacks will once again face their World Cup nemesis in a quarter-final in Cardiff, eight years after their nightmare exit at the same stage in the same stadium at the hands of the Tricolours.
Ireland's 24-9 win over the French here this morning determined that, the French barely firing an attacking shot in a match notable for the frightening collisions and the terrible toll it took on the men in green.
First-five Jonny Sexton was very unwell after being smashed in a front-on tackle which forced him from the field in the first half, and talismanic skipper Paul O'Connor was carried from the pitch on a stretcher at halftime with what looked like a serious leg injury.
Blindside flanker Paul O'Mahony followed in the same fashion after the break with a possible shoulder injury.
Halfback Conor Murray's try with eight minutes remaining sealed the victory for Ireland, who despite having a wealth of possession and territory, couldn't quite put France away for good until then.
Their quarter-final opponents will be an impressive-looking Argentina in Cardiff on Monday morning and much will depend on their injury reports after this brutal match.
A day before that the All Blacks will take on France. The French, well, who knows how they are travelling? As we have seen so often in World Cups, their pool form counts for nothing, especially against the All Blacks.
However, Steve Hansen's men have it all in their favour. They have had an extra 48 hours to prepare for their date with destiny after their good win over Tonga and will be confident they have the muscle and firepower to sink their grand final opponents from the last, for them, glorious, World Cup.
Ireland 24 (Rob Kearney, Conor Murray tries; Jonny Sexton 2 pens, Ian Madigan 2 pens, con)
France 9 (Scott Spedding 2 pens, Morgan Parra pen)