France pay the penalty as boot of Daly steers Ireland home
Centre Tom Daly, who kicked 17 points for Ireland, is tackled by Gael Fickou. photograph: james crombie/inpho
Under-20 Six Nations Ireland 22 France 5:Tom Daly led the way with an outstanding display of kicking as Ireland ran out comprehensive winners in this Under-20 Six Nations game at Dubarry Park last night.
Daly landed six from seven against an ill-disciplined French side, who will host the Junior World Cup in June.
Ireland recovered from a slow start but once their superior set-piece kicked in, they started to build the phases and a Daly penalty after six minutes settled them.
Daly, with a unique one-step approach to his kicks, was outstanding but France stuck a blow when hooker Romain Ruffenach blocked down a clearance from Ireland outhalf Steve Crosbie and got over for an 11th minute try.
But a brace of penalties from Daly edged Ireland back in front. Their ability to support the ball-carrier saw them create good openings, forcing France to concede penalties.
Eventually referee Luke Pearce lost patience with a penalty count of 9-2 after half an hour and winger Florian Vialelle was binned for a deliberate knock-on.
By then Daly had added a fourth penalty and he made it 15-5 from 38 metres. The superb Irish front five saw French coach Fabien Pelous with his head regularly in his hands as his pack was surprisingly taken apart.
France finished the half strongly and enjoyed a sustained bout of pressure inside the Irish 22 but the home defence was superb and they did not concede before the break.
France pressed after the restart but their handling was dreadful and so too was their discipline and any notion of a comeback disappeared when first replacement scrumhalf Baptiste Serin was binned and then a minute later outside centre Gael Fickou also received a yellow card after 64 minutes.
Ireland turned the screw immediately with flanker Conor Joyce running a fine line to get over for a try. Daly landed the conversion from the right wing to make it 22-5 after 65 minutes and they ran out easy winners from there, even though their lineout was far from perfect on the night, losing seven of their own throws.