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Win Showed Players’ Resilience – Clarke

Win Showed Players’ Resilience – Clarke

Ireland Under-19 coach Allen Clarke was ultimately pleased at how his players managed to change a game that was getting away from them, as they edged out France on a 13-12 scoreline at Donnybrook.

The French certainly planted doubts into the minds of the Ireland Under-19s by building a 12-0 half-time lead, based on two tries from blindside flanker Baptiste Gabriel and centre Jean Pascal Barraque.

“We stood off of them in the first half. It is not that we feared them, but we gave them too much respect,” said coach Allen Clarke.

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“We didn’t use our line speed in defence. We didn’t force ourselves to take the ball to them.

“We talked about that at half-time. There were elements of our game that were very good. We just had to work on the rest of it, and we did that.

“We carried the ball hard at them. We put some good rugby together. We’ll learn from that. We know we have to respect the set piece and build our game off that.

“We felt fairly good fitness-wise. So, we said we would ask questions of them. It showed when they started to break the game up with replacements. Their resilience came through in that match-winning try.”

Out-half Gareth Quinn McDonogh delivered all thirteen points, including the show-and-go try and conversion two minutes into injury-time.

This was a valuable exercise for a bunch of players who will be part of Ireland’s build-up to next year’s Under-20 Six Nations, with preparations getting underway in July.

There are also two or three vacancies still to be filled on the plane to the IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina in June.

“This was more of a performance barometer for us in preparing for next year’s Six Nations. It is about sizing the opportunity in every game, having no regrets when you come off the pitch,” added Clarke.

Related Links –

Ireland Under-19s Strike Back To Beat France