Last-gasp try delivers victory for France
Extensive changes to Irish line-up for second Test just fail to produce home win
Under 19 International: Ireland’s Cian O’Donoghue slips the attention of French opponent Lucas Meret. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Ireland 8 France 12
Colin McEntee’s boys came within two minutes of completing a double over France in a second Under-19 International in six days at Templeville Road.
Irish coach Colin McEntee took the decision to put out just one player, Jack Owens, from last Thursday’s 31-20 defeat of France in the first of two Test matches, while the French stuck with 10 of their original selection.
They were nice and compact in around the fringes from where they generated a penalty chance for Josh Bingham and a gilt-edged try-scoring opening for Greg O’Shea, who had the ball dislodged in contact.
Typically, the French came to life in first-half injury time off the back of a maul, their best weapon. The Irish body angles were too high to cope with it.
Scrumhalf Charlie Cassang wriggled free of his Irish counterpart Conor Young for the breakthrough try. Flyhalf Lucas Meret converted from the touchline for 7-0 at the interval.
The Irish struck back from their own steaming maul and Young’s pass on the short side for Cian O’Donoghue to touch down for 7-5 in the 47th minute.
They were soon ahead when France drifted up off side in the middle and replacement outhalf Tomas Quinlan smacked the ball through to go one point up.
But, the French had a slick blindside move up their sleeves, fullback Valentin Saurs powering through contact for the try going into injury time.
IRELAND: S Fitzgerald; G O’Shea (both Munster), J Owens (Ulster), F Cleary, C O’Donoghue (both Leinster); J Bingham, C Young; M Lagan, S Weir (all Ulster), M O’Donnell (Munster), C Romaine (Connacht), J Davidson (Ulster), M Kelly (Connacht), C Oliver (Leinster), R Todd (Ulster). Replacements: T Quinlan (Munster) for Bingham, C Rock (Leinster) for Young, both 52 mins; A Thompson (Ulster) for Romaine, for S McMahon (Munster) O’Shea, both 53 mins; L O’Connor (Munster) for Lagan, J Loughman (Leinster) for O’Donnell, both 55 mins; P O’Toole (Connacht) for Weir 60 mins; S McVeigh (Leinster) for Davidson 65 mins.
FRANCE: V Saurs; S Faconnier, F Fontaine, L Ghirard, L Blanc; L Meret, C Cassang; T Estorge, C Chat, S Courcoul, T Labouteley, F Sanconnie, V Destruels, L Bachelier, M Devergie. Replacements: A Armary for Sanconnie, W Ebongue-Sipamio for Estorge, B Rousset for Fontaine all half-time; A Meric-Audibert for Cassang 48 mins; D Delannoy for Destruels, H Vaslin for Courcoul, Q Lespiaucq-Brettes, all 60 mins.
Referee: D Proctor (England).