Hanrahan kicks Ireland to record finish
Ireland Under-20 18 France Under-20 7:Ireland were deserving winners at Newlands stadium in Cape Town, their victory cementing a best ever finish of fifth in the Under 20 World Junior Championship.
It’s been a wonderful effort throughout and while the players and management might reflect on how close they came to contesting a semi-final, they can take immense satisfaction from what they have achieved.
Irish outhalf JJ Hanrahan kicked six penalties from nine attempts as his forwards dominated the majority of the collision points, including the scrum and breakdown: the one exception was the lineout where Ireland were guilty of a handful of turnovers.
They also benefitted from French indiscipline as illustrated by a 16-4 penalty count in Ireland’s favour. Once again Mike Ruddock’s charges brought tremendous intensity to the ruck area, forcing countless turnovers there and in the tackle.
Number eight Jack Conan had a superb match, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Jordan Coghlan no less conspicuous in a brilliant collective effort from the Irish eight.
Kieran Marmion was lively at scrumhalf, the midfield combination of Chris Farrell and Stuart Olding offered a contrasting mix of power and subtlety while right wing Barry Daly was responsible for two crucial turnovers that led to Irish points.
Hanrahan kicked two first half penalties and had tagged on another three after the re-start before France gave themselves an outside chance with a try from Gael Fickou, converted by Enzio Selponi. The Kerryman though wrapped up an Irish victory three minutes from time.
Scoring sequence - 27 mins:Hanrahan penalty, 3-0; 32:Hanrahan penalty, 6-0. Half-time:6-0. 42:Hanrahan penalty, 9-0; 48:Hanrahan penalty, 12-0; 59:Hanrahan penalty, 15-0; 66:Fickou try, Selponi conversion, 15-7; 77:Hanrahan penalty, 18-7.
Ireland:P Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster); B Daly (UCD/Leinster), S Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), C Farrell (Dungannon/Ulster), F Horan (Lansdowne/Leinster); JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohemians/Munster), K Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht); D Merrey (Clontarf/Leinster), N Scannell (Dolphin/Munster, capt), T Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), A O’Connor (UCD/Leinster), T Beirne (Lansdowne/Leinster), I Henderson (Queen’s University/Ulster), J Coghlan (UCD/Leinster), J Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster).
Replacements:L McGrath (UCD/Leinster) for Marmion 55 mins; A Conneely (Corinthians/Connacht) for Coghlan 70 mins; C Finn (Buccaneers/Connacht) for Daly 73 mins; J Rael (Garryowen/Munster) for Scannell, J Cawley (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Merrey 78 mins; S Buckley (Garryowen/Munster) for Henderson 78 mins; J Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) for Olding 78 mins.
France:Platon; Martin, Danty, Fickou, Fuster; Laranjeira, Escande; Jedrasiak, Gayraud, Cotet, Fidinde, Kazubek, Poirot, Galletier, Château (capt).
Replacements:Yobo for Danty 21 mins; Derrien for Galletier 24 mins; Aliouat for Fidinde 31 mins; Carbou for Jedrasiak 50 mins; Selponi for Laranjeira 51 mins; Custoja for Cotet 61 mins; Vartanov for Poirot 70 mins. Yellow card: Poirot 48 mins.
Referee: Francisco Pastrana(Argentina).