France second row Thibaud Flament says that Ireland were without a doubt the best team he has faced playing for Les Bleus in the Test arena.
Andy Farrell’s men produced a scintillating display of attacking rugby back in February to secure a memorable 29-20 victory over France in the Guinness Six Nations.
The win ended Fabien Galthie’s unbeaten run in all competitions and sent a statement of intent to the rest of the Six Nations.
Flament, who has been France’s standout second row and a selection in the official team of the tournament, was speaking on The Offload Podcast and was asked about the loss to Ireland and how they ranked against the international opposition they have faced.
“Like everyone, it’s s*** to lose. It was good for us [France]. We didn’t start off the tournament really well in preparation. Maybe we were a bit too confident from where we were coming from, winning all those games.
“It was a nice reminder of what we have to do and how we need to be in the right mood to win games. It was s*** to lose on the day but it was really beneficial.”
Flament was asked if the current Ireland team is the best team they’d faced internationally and his answer was unequivocal.
“Yeah, I think yeah. Without any doubt.
“First of all, they have world-class players in all positions. They all have really good knowledge of their game, of their role. They’re very connected as a team as well. They play well, they play quick. They’re physical.
“They really put us under a lot of pressure, especially in the first 20 minutes. We were quickly behind on the score, in the game. They put us in an uncomfortable position. They’re just a better team really.
“They’re very good on the front foot and they just kept coming at us. The last 20 minutes were horrible because we were behind at the score and they kept attacking us. We were still in our half, defending them. They just felt unbeatable on the day.”