The 2022 Six Nations may have already produced it's game of the tournament after France emerged as 30-24 victors over Ireland in an exhilarating contest at the Stade de France on Saturday.
Antoine Dupont needed less than a minute to remind the world why he's the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, stunning the Irish before Mack Hansen replied with his maiden international try.
The boot of Melvyn Jaminet promised to put France out of sight before a quick-fire brace of tries from Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park early in the second half fired the guests back into contention.
Cyril Baille bounced over for Les Bleus in response to restore the French buffer, and this time it held true as the hosts continued their charge toward a first Six Nations title since 2010 .
Joey Carbery lived up to the billing as stand-in for the injured Johnny Sexton despite Ireland's first-half struggles, but it was insufficient to deliver a first Irish win in Paris since 2018 .
France's star half-back pairing combined to devastating effect for the game's opening try, with Romain Ntamack making the incision through Ireland's lines before offloading to the onrushing Dupont.
Full-back Jaminet converted the score before adding a penalty following another ruck infringement from Andy Farrell's men, but the guests couldn't have asked for a swifter response.
That's after Australia-born Hansen hared after the resulting kick-off, reaching it before Jaminet and Damian Penaud to race over almost unopposed for a maiden Test try to remember.
That proved only a brief respite from France's overall domination of the first half, however, and it wasn't long before another ruck infringement gave Jaminet all the chance he needed to add another three points.
Having reigned as the clear superiors in a 29-7 drubbing of Wales last week, Ireland found their set piece in particular was put under significantly more pressure this week.
Ireland's ill discipline in and around the breakdown was punished time and again, and Jaminet was only too happy to take the points at each turn, kicking the hosts into a 22-7 lead after 43 minutes.
A procession of 14 points in the space of five minutes cut that advantage down to just one, however, with Van der Flier flying over for the first of two swift scores off a line-out maul.
Gibson-Park showed a little more pizzazz when he dummied his way over the line shortly after, with Munster playmaker Carbery slotting the extras each time.
Just as hope appeared to have sprouted anew, however, Baille returned with a short-range score of his own, although Jaminet was unable to convert for his first miss of the match.
Luck appeared to be turning in Ireland's favour when Tadhg Beirne pulled off a sensational 50-22 kick on the turn, though replacement hooker Dan Sheehan was unable to find his mark as the guests turned over.
Carbery kicked his first penalty of the day on 73 minutes to cut France's lead to just three points, but that proved as close as they'd come to clinching maximum spoils.
Fed up of kicking duties, Jaminet crossed over amid a mountain of bodies with a couple of minutes to go, but the full-back settled for a fifth and final penalty instead after the TMO ruled out his try.
France are already the only team who can now win a Grand Slam after Dan Biggar kicked Wales to a 20-17 win over Scotland earlier on Saturday.
It means every outfit except Les Bleus have recorded a defeat in this year's competition, and the remaining fixtures may well play to their favour.
The Six Nations will enjoy a week's respite before resuming on February 26 when France will attempt to do what England could not and beat Scotland at Murrayfield.
Ireland, meanwhile, are set to host Wooden Spoon favourites Italy on February 27, with plenty of lessons to take from a torturous trip to Paris.
FRANCE- Tries: Dupont, Baille. Cons: Jaminet. Pens: Jaminet 5.
IRELAND- Tries: Hansen, Van der Flier, Gibson-Park. Cons: Carbery 3. Pens: Carbery.
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