Ireland captain Rory Best says that his side are reasonably happy with the 16-16 draw that they secured in their Six Nations opener against Wales at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Ireland led 13-0 after the first quarter of game, but in a turnaround aided by substitute Rhys Priestland’s boot, the defending Six Nations champions neared a loss before Johnny Sexton’s penalty in the last 10 minutes of the game sealed a draw.
The visitors showed solid defence that kept the hosts’ scoreboard unchanged for the greater part of the second-half, with Best reflecting on what was an all-action game.
“I think it’s a strange result. Usually no one is happy with a draw but at 16-13 you look at the Welsh defence and we’re probably reasonably happy with the draw,” the Ulster hooker told the Belfast Telegraph.
“The flip side of that is we’re obviously disappointed with the last 10 minutes of that (first) half. We let them back in when we had a good firm hold of things.
“A draw keeps us in it, keeps us in the championship and it’s a lot better than a loss.”
The scrum was an area of concern for Joe Schmidt’s side, especially during the first-half, and Ireland’s tight five were without the likes of Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Marty Moore and Iain Henderson.
“The balance in the first-half didn’t help us. You have to keep working. We want to stay square and put a stable platform on, we definitely got there in the second-half but we’re disappointed we didn’t get enough opportunity to do that in the first-half,” Best added.
Ireland square off with France at Stade de France on Saturday and Best knows that his side will have to be well prepared for the encounter.
“It’s one area of France’s game that, in club rugby and international rugby, that they’re particularly strong,” he said.
“There’s probably areas of their scrum are probably quite similar to Wales, they look for angles and they don’t necessarily always want that straight contest.
“For us, there are aspects of that second-half that we’re happy with but there’s no doubt that France are dangerous there.
“We’ll have to dissect that and make sure we have a good plan.”