The manner in which Ireland stepped off the gas and controlled the game in the last 25 minutes was far more impressive than their dynamic attack against France, according to former professional flyhalf Andy Dunne.
Ireland defeated France in emphatic fashion to keep their hopes of a Grand Slam title alive in the Guinness Six Nations. While the bulk of their 32 points came before half time, Andy Farrell's side were in control for the majority of the 80 minutes en route to a bonus point win.
Scoring four tries against a French side on a 14-game unbeaten run was impressive enough, however it was even more impressive that Ireland kept the visitors from scoring more than one try.
However, for Andy Dunne, the most impressive part of Ireland's win was the manner in which they closed the game out.
Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, Dunne broke down the exhilarating first half in Dublin.
"One of the most significant things of the overall performance, the first 45-odd minutes being so electric," Dunne said. "We contributed to that with our work rate and creativity.
"France contributed to it, at times, by their lack of accuracy, which caused chaos. Then they had people like [Antoine] Dupont, who created problems for himself and the team, but had the talent to get himself out of it.
"Then, by default, France were breaking tackles and breaking our defensive line. So, it was this swashbuckling 45 minutes of rugby that was so entertaining.
"I would agree it was probably the most entertaining 45 minutes in memory that I've seen."
Ireland closed out the game superbly
Ireland under Andy Farrell have become famed for their dynamic, triangle attacking structure. Under this system, any of three different options can be taken per move, making it almost impossible for defences to know how to defend them.
While this was used to full effect in the first half, it was Ireland's ability to take the foot off the throttle and manage the game out in the second half that truly impressed Dunne.
"What impressed me most was the switch, enforced due to personnel changes, to a more canny, defensive approach in the last 25 minutes," Dunne said. "The kicks to the corner, more rucks, holding possession in their territory.
"It's less dangerous, but showing that you have the capacity to win in different ways, and then showing that you've the capacity to win with different personnel in different ways is a fearsome enough combination.
"The rugby IQ in that group and in the coaching group is very, very high," Dunne added. "Clearly they can get messages on very easily.
"People are at different levels of arousal on the field, and your nervous system does funny things. So, to be able to just dial down intensity on cue, put your foot on the ball, dampen the game down and eliminate French threats to see out the game... is very impressive!"
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