Job done. Next up, a Friday night showdown in Cardiff against a Wales side badly wounded by defeat to Scotland.

Ireland were far from perfect against France, but they had enough to put dogged opponents to the sword and keep alive their hopes of winning the Six Nations championship.

They make the short hop across the water in two weeks' time, and the RTÉ panel was split on the lie of the land after today's drama.

Ronan O'Gara is expecting a serious backlash.

“Wales have two games at home this year," he said. "They lost the first one (to England), they lost today (away) to Scotland. There’s three million people demanding a result. Those boys for the next 13 days won’t be allowed walk down the street. I think it’s tougher for Ireland now."

An optimistic Shane Horgan believes the loss of momentum is a killer blow for the Welsh, and is eyeing an Irish win: "I think Wales are a momentum team. They generally get better as the tournament goes on if they’re having success but if they’re not, they become very fragile I think that loss against Scotland will really damage them."

Brent Pope is looking beyond that collision to the Paddy's Day climax against England.

After dealing with France's bruising pack, he says Ireland should be feeling confident: "The good thing now for Ireland is, if they get over that Wales match they;ll look to be able to say, we cant take on the English physically because they took on the French.

"We all heard about the massive pack the French were coming with; England will have an equally big pack. There’s confidence there for Ireland to say, 'okay we can take on these big packs and actually come out the better side of it'."