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AU REVOIR IRELAND.. RUGBY WORLD CUP DISASTER FRANCE 25 IRELAND 3 French defeat leaves World Cup dream in tatters.

Byline: By MICHAEL SCULLY

IRELAND saw their slim Rugby World Cup hopes effectively ended last night after falling to a 25-3 defeat to France in Paris last night.

Even if Pool D rivals Argentina fail to pick up a bonus point against Namibia today, Eddie O'Sullivan's side would have to beat the Pumas by more than four tries.

And they'd also have to deny them a bonus point.

That is unthinkable given the way Ireland have played in these finals to date.

And, for the first time since the competition came into existence in 1987, it is very realistic that the men in green will fail to qualify for the knockout stages.

"We need a massive result against Argentina," conceded skipper Brian O'Driscoll. This was a winner-takes-all game and though Ireland played with passion they were never able to breach the French tryline.

In stunning contrast, Les Bleus stormed over twice at the start of the final quarter through Vincent Clerc to almost certainly blow their opponents out of the competition with a match left to play.

CAPTION(S):

SINKING FEELING: Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll trudges off the Stade de France pitch last night
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 22, 2007
Words:194
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