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  • Jun 16
    PARIS -- Ireland held on grimly in a nail-biting finish to beat France 22-20 and win its first Six Nations since 2009, giving centre Brian ODriscoll the perfect send-off in his last test on Saturday. [b]NHL Jerseys Apparel[/b] . With just over a minute remaining, ODriscolls and Irish hearts sank when France No. 8 Damien Chouly scored in the right corner, but the try was disallowed for a forward pass from captain Pascal Pape. "Im over the moon, very happy for the lads and obviously very happy for Brian in his last international," Ireland captain Paul OConnell said. "Historically, this is always our toughest Six Nations with England away from home and France away from home, so to win the championship with these two fixtures is a great success." Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton scored two tries among a personal 17 points to steal the limelight in ODriscolls world-record 141st and final test. Right winger Andrew Trimble got Irelands other try. "There is where it all began and to finish with a medal around my neck 15 years later is incredible," said ODriscoll, who was still in his jersey at the news conference. "Its been a fantastic Six Nations for us. Ive enjoyed every second. I dont really want to take this jersey off yet." Irelands last win in Paris was in 2000, when ODriscoll, nine months into his great career, scored a hat trick of tries and made his name. "I dont think anybody will step into Brians shoes," Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said. "Theyre rather big, but hopefully they can grow into them." Irelands title was only its second in 29 years, and relegated England to second for a third straight year. England beat Italy 52-11 in Rome earlier, forcing Ireland and France, a long shot for the title, to win or miss out. France finished fourth, Wales rising to third with a 51-3 defeat of Scotland. France, after an indifferent campaign, came to the party with all guns loaded and produced the games highlight moment, its first try to fullback Brice Dulin. There was a controversial second try from hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, who knocked on before scoring against the post. "Of course its frustrating to finish fourth," France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said. "You cant say our players cant play rugby and that they dont have any desire. We showed enormous ambition to play good rugby. The highest level is very cruel and you have to congratulate Ireland and ODriscoll." France missed chances in the last 10 minutes to take the lead, when replacement scrumhalf Jean-Marc Doussains penalty drifted wide and the disallowed try. "I would have liked to have closed it out a lot better than we did," OConnell said. "Ive been coming to Paris since I was 22, its a very tough place to win. Ive never won here before. In my year as captain, at 34 and in Brians last cap, it really is an incredible feeling." ODriscoll kissed the Six Nations trophy before OConnell raised it aloft, sending Irelands large contingent of fans into delirium again. "I tried to channel the emotions into the performance. You cant allow the occasion to get the better of you," ODriscoll said. "You have to try and make sure youre a cog in the wheel of the team. The emotions come after and they did, and Im sure therell be a few tears later on with multiple beers on board. But its a wonderful way to finish." Early momentum, especially from centre Mathieu Bastareaud, was with France for a 6-0 lead. Sextons first try cut the lead to one, and soon after, scrumhalf Conor Murrays clever footwork and pass released Trimble for a try and 12-6. Stung back into action, the French pack took control. With blood pouring from a cut under his right eye, Szarzewski gained ground and flyhalf Remi Tales lofted a pin-point cross-kick to the right corner, where winger Yoann Huget brilliantly palmed it down to Dulin, who scored. It was Frances best move of the tournament. Sexton missed a penalty, the last act of the half, to allow France to go into the interval 13-12 ahead but without prop Nicolas Mas, who trudged off with his right arm in a sling. In the second half, Trimbles superb run down the right almost earned the supporting ODriscoll a try. Ireland recycled, and Murray sent Sexton over for the seven-pointer. Another penalty from Sexton made it 22-13. But France wasnt finished. Just after the hour mark, Szarzewskis try that really wasnt cut the margin to two. The Irish resisted the final French onslaught to send ODriscoll into a happy international retirement "Not many people get to finish their career on their own terms and with high emotions," ODriscoll said. "I feel very fortunate." [b]NHL Jerseys Jerseys[/b] . The 22-year-old Spanish midfielder recently signed a new three-year contract with Chelsea, and after spending last season on loan with Valencia in La Liga, Romeu will move to the Bundesliga for the 2014-15 campaign. [b]NHL Jerseys Cheap[/b] . At this point, even he isnt sure when it is going to stop. The right-hander dropped his fourth straight decision in Los Angeles 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night, leaving his status very much in doubt as the Dodgers prepare for the stretch drive.TORONTO – Dave Bolland did not hesitate when asked who would win on Friday. "Canada," Bolland said with a smile. "Is that a question?" One day earlier, though, fellow Toronto Maple Leafs centre Nazem Kadri wasnt so sure his home and native land could pull off the win against the United States in the semi-finals of the Olympic hockey tournament. "I want to say Canada, but to be honest with you, the U.S. looks better," Kadri, a native of London, Ont., said. "We dont know if Naz is Canadian or American," Bolland, from Mimico, Ont., said with a chuckle. "We dont know what he is or who hes cheering for. He could be cheering for the Belarusians." Roommate Turmoil The North American rivalry has many fault lines throughout the Leafs dressing room even though a vast majority of the players – 20 in total – are Canadian. The issue: two of the key players on Team USA are also two-thirds of Torontos top line: Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. The man who centres that line in the NHL, Reginas Tyler Bozak, may be the Leaf who is most torn. After all, Bozak is close friends with Kessel and actually lives with the Leafs leading scorer. "Thats a tough question for me to answer," Bozak admitted when asked where his loyalties lie. "Ive got my two wingers on the U.S. and Im Canadian so I guess Im cheering for both. I just hope Phil and JVR play really well and maybe Canada wins. I dont know. "Its going to be an exciting game to watch, for sure. I really cant make any predictions. I dont know. The U.S. has been playing great. Canadas kind of snuck by with a few wins, buut every games different and it should be a fun one to watch. [b]NHL Jerseys 2022[/b]. " Another set of roommates are also at odds over the game and are actually putting their money where their mouthes are. Defencemen Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner, from Vancouver and Minnetonka, MN respectively, have placed a friendly wager on the game. "I cant tell you what it is," Rielly said. "Hes overconfident. I think Team Canada will be fine." Most Leafs, however, were trying to take the diplomatic approach with head coach and Sudbury, Ont. native Randy Carlyle, acknowledging the semi-final showdown "was pulling your heart strings in different directions." The Diplomatic Approach "We hope and wish our players all the luck in the world as far as an organization," said Carlyle, "but I am Canadian." "I hope that Phil and JVR do well," said captain Dion Phaneuf, who hails from Edmonton and was invited to Hockey Canadas orientation camp in the summer, "so Im in the middle, thats for sure. Any time you have teammates competing, you want them to do well, but Im Canadian and I have lots of respect for Hockey Canada." What everyone can agree on is that Kessel and van Riemsdyk are having a much better Sochi experience than Nikolai Kulemin, who was the other Leaf taking part in the Winter Games. "Nobody asks questions about how youre going to feel about Nikolai Kulemin coming back and thats a tough one," said Carlyle. "Host country and the way their tournament unravelled, hes part of our hockey club and weve got to find a way to build him back up and get him going again." ' ' '