France's rugby team showed tactical strength in its defeat of Ireland at the Six Nations tournament (35-27) on Saturday. However, they just missed out on the champion title, which went to England, it's first since 2017.
France's victory over Ireland handed England the title on points difference - allowing them their first Six Nations title in three years.
England won with a 34-5 win away to Italy during the second of the day's three games.
Ireland fell into third place, in front of Scotland, Wales and Italy.
France captain Charles Ollivon told a press conference after the match that he was "hopeful" for the team's future, even if there's "mixed feelings" about not winning the competition outright.
"I think we've grown up...We're having a good time on the pitch. We have a dynamic momentum that we intend to maintain," he said.
Best score since 2011
"It's only the beginning of the story," chimed in head coach Fabien Galthié, commenting on what was the team's best result since 2011.
"We are satisfied. This is a team which has beaten us eight out of nine matches. And we've finished on 18 points, equal with England, but we're disappointed because we're only in second place when it comes to goal average."
"We are a young team, but we succeeded in getting 35 points against a team which in the past few years has dominated world rugby," Galthié said.
"We don't regret anything," said Ireland's 35 year-old captain, Jonathan Sexton.
"We knew the French, with the players they have, can get mark a try out of nowhere. It's a little bit like playing the All Blacks; they have this mentality to score at any cost. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
The Autumn Nations Cup, a replacement for traditional end-of-year tours of Europe by rugby union's southern hemisphere giants, starts on 13 November, with Ireland welcoming Wales and France hosting Fiji two days later.