Celebration: Frederic Michalak and Clement Poitrenaud

PARIS, 21 September - France defeated Ireland 25-3 in their Pool D match at the Stade de France on Friday.

France, with two tries to Ireland's none, simply had too much power and panache for a disjointed Irish side that rarely threatened the resolute Les Bleus defence.

France wing Vincent Clerc broke the try-less deadlock in the 59th minute when he stormed on to a beautifully weighted Frederic Michalak kick and raced 15m along the right flank to dive over in the corner and make it 20-3.

Scrum half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, who kicked four penalties in the first half and one in the second, could not convert from out wide but the damage was done.

Ireland's cause was not helped four minutes later when hulking second row Paul O'Connell was sent to the sin bin for off-side play following a line-out.

Les Bleus capitalised on the extra man in the 69th minute when Clerc rose high to snaffle another attacking kick and was strong enough to bump off the defence to barge over in the corner.

A dispirited looking Ireland continued to toil but it was all in vain.

France were reduced to 14 men in the 76th minute when inside centre Damien Traille was yellow-carded for repeated infringements.

The efficient French line-out provided a platform for their forwards to drive the Irish pack back several metres on numerous occasions and proved the mainstay of Les Bleus dominance upfront.

RNS mp/gs