The Ireland Schools side went down to their French counterparts 24 - 10 on a hot day in Toulon on Saturday.
The French side started well and looked like the well oiled team that had the benefit of two games the over the last couple of weekends, where they played Scotland and Wales and had two victories under their belt.
And their extra match practice showed in the opening quarter, where France raced into a 13-0 lead thanks to two penalties and a converted try. By comparison, Ireland were a little bit rusty with both the lineout and scrum stuttering and turnovers were allowing the French to keep the pressure on.
But, following the opening salvo from their hosts, Ireland settled into the game and came back with a drop goal from outhalf Scott Deasy in the last ten minutes.
The French upped the pace at the beginning of the second period and put themselves further ahead with two further penalties and a try. But again the Ireland side refused to buckle under enormous pressure and although the heat was taking its toll, they scored a try through openside David Johnston, which was converted by right wing Christopher Quinn.
Ireland remained the better side, but could not make any further impact on the score which ended 24 - 10.
The Ireland squad now travel to Gloucester on Wednesday for the four nations tournament and will be better for the match practice against this strong French side.
U18 Schools 4Nations Tournament Schedule:
Date Teams Venue Time
15th April England v Ireland Cheltenham RFC 2.00p.m.
18th April Wales v Ireland Lydney RFC 4.00p.m.
21st April Scotland v Ireland Gloucester RFC 2.00p.m.
15 - Adam Craig (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), 14 - Christopher Quinn (Methodist College), 13 - Jamie Smith (Campbell College), 12 - Eoin O'Malley (Belvedere College), 11 - Patrick Brophy (St Michaels College), 10 - Scott Deasy (PBC Cork), 9 - David Moore (Blackrock College), 1 - Paul Karayiannis (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), 2 - Stephen Douglas (Royal Belfast Academical Institution), 3 - Matthew Nelson (Wallace High School), 4 - James Sandford (Royal School Armagh), 5 - Brian Cawley (Blackrock College), 6 - Paul Ryan (Blackrock College), 7 - David Johnston (Methodist College), 8 - Kieran Essex (CBC Cork)
Michael Sherry (Ard Scoil Ris), Patrick McCabe (Belvedere College), Stephen Archer (CBC Cork)
Patrick Mallon (St Michaels College), Ken Hanley (Crescent College), Jonathan Slattery (Belvedere College), Michael Wilson (Rainey Endowed School), Andrew Burke (Crescent College), Conor Cleary (St Michaels College), Eamonn Broderick (St Munchin's College), David Mongan (Belvedere College)
Conor Cleary for Adam Craig (second half), Michael Sherry for Stephen Douglas (second half), Stephen Archer for Matthew Nelson (second half).
Coach - Peter Melia (CBC Cork)
Assistant Coach - Paul Barr (PBC Cork)
Manager - Lorcan Balfe (De la Salle Churchtown)