Late try costs Ireland A dearly


A international: a late try from Nicolas Nadau cost Ireland A the win in Clermont Ferrand on Saturday in a fast open game during which the lead changed hands at least four times. The French, who finally won 31-25, with full back Nadau collecting two tries, capitalised on Ireland putting needless pressure on themselves, particularly in the second half.

After seven minutes France's Cedric Heymans ran in the first try before Geordan Murphy equalised for Ireland. Eric Elwood added the extra points.

On the half hour second row David Couzinet scored to take France into break 14-7 ahead.

Ireland began the second half looking like a side who might keep their unbeaten run intact. Elwood kicked a penalty before David Wallace scored by the posts on 49 minutes. Elwood's conversion gave Ireland the lead for the first time.

Nadau, however, hit back for France before Tony McWhirter scored from a lineout drive. A French penalty combined with another try from the majestic Nadau sealed Ireland's fate.

Ireland A: D Crotty; G Murphy, J Cunninghanm, K Keane, T Howe; E Elwood, T Tierney; M Horan, S Byrne (capt), P Wallace, L Cullen, J Davidson, A Quinlan, T McWhirter, D Wallace. Replacements: D O'Brien for Quinlan and R Corrigan for Horan (71 mins); M Blair for McWhirter (74); E Farrell for Elwood and B O'Meara for Tierney (77); A Clarke for Byrne (79).

Under-21 Match: The Ireland under-21 side failed to capitalise on a strong first half wind before losing 51-24 to their French counterparts in Cognac on Saturday.

Simon Keogh opened the scoring for Ireland after just three minutes with Jeremey Staunton converting for a 7-0 lead. Keogh was in again for his second try after 15 minutes. But a converted try and two penalties gave France a distinct advantage.

Kieron Campbell grabbed another Irish try for an encouraging 18-17 scoreline but the French were indomitable, taking the match to 44-17 before Staunton scored a converted try.

Ireland Under-21: G D'Arcy; A Dunne, P Wallace, S Moore (capt.), S Keogh; J Staunton, K Campbell; N Foxe, A Flavin, N Treston, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, J Skurr, C McCarey, A Hughes. Replacements: M Lawlor for P Wallace (30 mins); A Kearney for D O'Callaghan.

Universities: The French Universities defeated the Irish Universities 72-10 in Tournon, France, on Saturday.

France scored tries almost every five minutes, their right winger Bibabe crossing for four of the 12 French tries. Considering Ireland was confined to players from second and fourth division clubs, the Irish Universities put up a spirited performance.

Irish Universities: F O'Gara (UCC); C Buckley (TCD); R Wallace (TCD); P Hickey Dwyer (UCD) D Holt (UCC); B O'Mahony (UCC); D Spence (QUB); M Moynagh (UCD); M Nathan (UCC); R McCormack (UCD, captain), T Hogan (TCD); T Callanan (UCD); R Woods (TCD) S Madigan (UCC). Replacements: S Mitchell (TCD) for Hickey-Dwyer (70 mins); C Curneen (TCD) for R Wallace (60); G Caldwell (QUB) for M Moynagh (77); B Quigley (UCD) for D Spence (55); J Sheehan (UCC) for McKenna (66); J Smith (UCD) for K Murphy (TCD).

French Universities: Milloud (Capt), Laurent, Segaud, Lefebvre, Mallet, Audebert, Froment, Sverzut, Barrau, Boyet, Dury, DallaRiva, Peclier, Roque, Bidabe, Bonetti.

Referee: M Mendes-Silva (Portugal).