France resist Irish comeback
Donnacha Ryan of Ireland gets away from David Marty of France during the international friendly between France and Ireland at Stade Chaban-Delmas on August 13, 2011 in Bordeaux, France.
( August 12, 2011 - Photos by Christopher Lee/Getty Images Europe)
France got their World Cup warm up schedule off to a winning start on Saturday, beating Ireland 19-12 at Stade Chaban Delmas in Bordeaux.
France raced to a deserved 13-0 lead by the half-hour mark as they dominated every facet of play.
But the home side's indiscipline allowed the Irish to claw their way back into contention as four Ronan O'Gara penalties narrowed the gap to a single point at the start of the final quarter.
Wing Vincent Clerc scored the only try of the night for Les Bleus - his ninth in nine games against Ireland - while Dimitri Yachvili was flawless from the kicking tee, landing all five of his attempts at goal.
O'Gara's kicking both out of hand and from the tee was one of the few highlights of the Irish performance, though they did improve as the game progressed, gaining confidence as they chipped away at the French lead.
Keith Earls of Ireland is tackled by Luc Ducalcon and Guilhem Guirado
French run over Ireland but performance far from perfect
Vincent Clerc moved into third place on France's all-time list of tryscorers with 25, eight of which have come against Ireland in as many matches.
France looked in complete control at 13-3 at halftime, but let Ireland back into the match at Stade Chaban-Delmas. Veteran five-eighths Ronan O'Gara slotted three straight penalties and then missed a chance to put Ireland ahead.
Near the end, with Ireland needing a converted try to level the scores, France won a crucial scrum on its own line, drawing huge cheers from the Bordeaux crowd.
Ireland has not won on French soil since centre Brian O'Driscoll scored a hat-trick of tries in 2000, and his dynamism was sorely missed.
Ireland, who lost to France in the Six Nations, host France in Dublin next weekend.