Peter O’Mahony and Evan O’Connell spearheaded Ireland’s double over France in Marseille last weekend.
Despite being underdogs heading into their Six Nations clash with France, Ireland powered to a 38-17 statement victory over their opponents last Friday.
Andy Farrell’s men also claimed a bonus point, leaving his side top after the first round of fixtures as they look to retain their Six Nations title for a consecutive year.
However, they weren’t the only Irish team to leave France with a victory as their U-20 counterparts also sealed a win over Les Bleus, with the score finishing 37-31 in the U-20 Six Nations opener.
Both teams were captained by Munster natives with Peter O’Mahony and co. taking the field first last Friday evening.
Jack Crowley made his Six Nations debut to add to his nine previous caps. The 24-year-old has huge boots to fill following Johnny Sexton’s retirement and he got the ball rolling with a penalty after six minutes.
Jamison Gibson-Park notched the first Irish try of the night which was followed by Tadhg Beirne as they sailed into a 17-10 lead at half-time.
Ireland’s dominance continued into the second half with Calvin Nash, Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher all crossing the line to confirm the five points.
Joe McCarthy, who was making his Six Nations debut, was named Player of the Match following a fine performance from the 22-year-old and he will be aiming to keep James Ryan out of the lineup for the following fixtures.
The first match of the competition has already sparked notions that Ireland will take home the Six Nations yet again.
Following their narrow defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup in last year, Andy Farrell’s side were not favoured to win at this early stage.
Rugby analyst Bernard Jackman even stated before the match that he believed France could “still win the Six Nations despite being without their star man Antoine Dupont.”
But with such a victory, opinions changed drastically and Ireland now, as Jackman says; “can become the first team to win back-to-back grand slams.”
Both Irish teams will be looking bring more of this raw talent and textbook professionalism back home to the Aviva as they welcome Italy in the second round of the Six Nations this weekend.