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After missing a crucial penalty which allowed Jacque Brunel's side a passage back into the game, Sexton stepped up the mantle when Ireland needed to score points in the dying minutes.
Uncannily like 2016, minus the brutality, Ireland were drifting towards a seemingly inexorable loss.
The gap was still six when they were caught by Teddy Thomas' sucker-punch with less than 10 minutes left, the French winger jinking over from 60 metres in a brilliant individual effort that seemed to have won an otherwise unremarkable game.
This mouth-watering game, and tournament, will kick off at 2:15pm on Saturday February 3, and it will be broadcast by the BBC with buildup to the game starting at 1:45pm.
Jalibert features in a team full of inexperience to face Ireland on the weekend. That is the big thing because there will be times when it is going to feel suffocating, but we have got to make sure we fight our way out of it'.
"We went straight on the offensive and got to 12-3 up".
But new half, same pattern: a positive start and then a retreat into robotics.
"It adds motivation for us to do well in this Six Nations".
That much is certainly true.
"And Dan came on and added an terrible lot, especially in those phases leading up to the drop goal".
Luckily England have a depth of players which allow them to cover for that, but there's no doubt that any team missing those two will be weaker.
Next up: Ireland return to Carton House to prepare for next Saturday's visit of Italy to the Aviva Stadium.
"Come the video review on Monday that'll be what Joe will show".
They're 24 years old, probably getting a charter plane over to Rome, staying in a five star hotel, they're looked after, their bags are packed, their kit's given to them, they don't book flights and I'm looking back on it and thinking 'are you kidding me?'
Owens plays down the record, saying: "They're just numbers at the end of the day but when you get to those milestones it's always nice to reflect really on how long you have been part of this wonderful tournament".
Lock Ryan is selected ahead of Devin Toner - who is on the bench - while Josh van der Flier gets the nod in the back row, in place of the injured Sean O'Brien.
Winning in France is hard; Ireland made it harder than it should have been.
England are playing nearly unbeatable rugby; Scotland are unleashing their backline and playing with flair; Ireland are playing in a way that has thrust them into the top 3 in the world; Wales are quietly scheming away and are due to show everyone what they've been working on behind closed doors; the French will be unpredictable with a young and inexperienced squad; and Italy are rapidly developing under impressive Irish coach Conor O'Shea.