06/04/02.France completed the Grand Slam with a victory 44-5 over Ireland in Stade de France. The French took the lead with a Serge Betsen try in the 3rd minute and led 28-5 at half time
At the start of the second half Ireland were committed to desperate defence and they restricted the French to two Merceron penalties with some courageous defence. However their line was breached in the 56th minute when Sege Betsen scored his second try and Nicolas Brusque also added a second.
If anything Ireland deserve some credit for restricting the home side to what was the final score. They were in trouble from as early as the third minute when their defence was stretched and Betsen ran in for the opening score. Keith Wood pulled one back in the 9th minute but the French scored two more tries before the break – Brusque and Aurelien Rougerie exposing brittle Irish defence – and Merceron’s boot left the Irish trailing 28-5 at half time.
Ireland. G Dempsey; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll, R Henderson, D Hickie; D Humphreys, P Stringer; P Clohessy (P Wallace 62 min)), K Wood capt, J Hayes; G Longwell (P O’Connell 64 min), M O’Kelly; S Easterby, D Walllace (K Gleeson 48 min), A Foley.
France. N Brusque; A Rougerie, T Marsh, D Traille, D Bory (J Marlu); G Merceron (F Gelez), F Galthie; J-J Crenca, R Ibanez (O Azam), P de Villiers; F Pelous, O Brouzet D Auradou 73 min); S Betsen, O Magne, I Harinordoquy.
Referee: P O’Brien (New Zealand)