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Ireland U-19s Edged Out By France In Belfast Thriller

Ireland U-19s Edged Out By France In Belfast Thriller

Henry Walker, pictured in action for the Ireland Under-20s recently, scored the fourth and final try for the Under-19 team against France in Belfast ©INPHO/Ben Brady

The Ireland Under-19s (sponsored by PwC) matched France on try count, but les Bleuets landed all four conversions to take a 28-26 win in an exciting Easter series opener at Queen’s University Belfast RFC.


Wednesday, April 3 –

IRELAND UNDER-19s 26 FRANCE U-20 DEVELOPMENT XV 28, Queen’s Sport Arena, Queen’s University Belfast RFC
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ciaran Mangan, Éanna McCarthy, Niall Smyth, Henry Walker; Cons: Sam Wisniewski 2, Dylan Hicks
France: Tries: Mathis Boureau d’Argonne, Geoffrey Malaterre, Bartholomé Sanson, Mathis Ibo; Cons: Aurélien Barreau 2, Ugo Pacome 2
HT: Ireland 5 France 14

Having played England last weekend, France showed the benefit of that extra game-time together with a couple of key purple patches during which they scored a brace of tries in each half.

However, with captain Mikey Yarr an influential figure up front, Ireland looked very cohesive at times and have plenty to build on heading into Sunday’s second game at St. Mary’s College RFC (kick-off 2.30pm).

They were first on the scoreboard thanks to winger Ciaran Mangan winning the race to his own kick through. Mathis Boureau d’Argonne and Geoffrey Malaterre, with an intercept try, responded with two converted scores for a 14-5 half-time lead.

Coached by Kieran Hallett, the Ireland youngsters enjoyed the better of the third quarter, with UCC number 8 Éanna McCarthy rumbling over before his interception paved the way for prop Niall Smyth to make it 19-14.

Replacement Bartholomé Sanson and Mathis Ibo both crossed to give France a nine-point buffer with as many minutes remaining. Henry Walker, who played during the recent U-20 Six Nations, made it four tries apiece, but Ireland fell short of a late victory.

Hallett’s well-drilled team gave an early glimpse of their attacking capabilities when Gene O’Leary Kareem blocked a French kick and used the breaking ball to slip Oisin Minogue into space. Todd Lawlor was up in support, but his attempted kick through was thwarted by Ibo.

The first few scrums were evenly contested, while CBC Cork’s Conor Kennelly got up to disrupt a French lineout in the eighth minute. Both defences were proving tough to break down, with the Irish outside backs pressing with kicks out wide.

Flanker Minogue got back to mark Ugo Pacome’s chip kick after the French back-three had threatened for the first time. Full-back Lawlor was soon breaking the defensive line, darting past halfway via a well-timed Evan Moynihan pass.

Ireland were playing with a penalty advantage when Mangan spotted the space in behind, prodding through a perfectly-weighted kick from 35 metres out and winning the race to touch the ball down ahead of Malaterre.

Following Sam Wisniewski’s missed conversion from out wide, France had their first sniff of a try with the hosts guilty of knocking on and then conceding a penalty. Yanis Lux was held up, but prop Boureau d’Argonne crashed over from Simon Daroque’s quick tap feed.

Aurélien Barreau converted and also added the extras to Malaterre’s opportunist score just a couple of minutes later. He charged down a kick from Wisniewski and regathered the ball just outside the Irish 10-metre line, breaking clear to make it 14-5.

Ireland did end the opening half inside the French 22, with out-half Wisniewski and his forwards fighting for every yard in contact, but Jean-Jacques Cassio ripped the ball back in a tackle and Charles Kante Samba stole a lineout.

The hosts, who got back on the front foot thanks to Will Wootton putting Michael Foy through a gap, turned down a central kick at the posts. France defended the subsequent maul well, though, and retained their nine-point advantage.

Early in the second period, a couple of penalties, including one at scrum time, had Ireland building momentum. Wisniewski got every inch out of a kick to touch, and McCarthy powered over from close range after an initial maul and then an assist from Billy Bohan.

Wisniewski’s crisp conversion made it a seven-pointer and it got even better for Hallett’s charges in the 54th minute. Having intercepted a pass from Barreau, McCarthy was hauled down short before tighthead Smyth picked from the ruck to score right under the posts.

The extras from Wisniewski restored Ireland’s five-point lead (19-14) from earlier on. Shortly afterwards, some neat interplay between O’Leary Kareem and Lawlor had France retreating towards their own posts, but number 8 Cassio made a timely interception.

Nonetheless, Cassio and his fellow forwards exerted pressure from a maul with a quarter of an hour mark. They chipped away with more carries before Sanson found enough space to go over just to the left of the posts, with Pacome converting this time.

Despite a well-won turnover from replacement Jack Angulo, more of the game was now being played in the Irish half. An 8-9 move off a scrum set up the onrushing Ibo to get past Andre Ryan’s tackle and touch down out wide. Pacome also split the posts from the left.

That turned out to be a crucial conversion from the French skipper, as Ireland hit back swiftly. Walker controlled a strong maul before a series of carries led to a penalty, from which the Ulster Academy front rower barged over with support from Emmet Calvey.

Fellow replacement Dylan Hicks converted with four minutes remaining, but the hosts were unable to engineer another scoring opportunity, leaving France to take the spoils with a mouth-watering rematch to come in Dublin this weekend.

TIME LINE: 20 minutes – Ireland try: Ciaran Mangan – 5-0; conversion: missed by Sam Wisniewski – 5-0; 23 mins – France try: Mathis Boureau d’Argonne – 5-5; conversion: Aurélien Barreau – 5-7; 25 mins – France try: Geoffrey Malaterre – 5-12; conversion: Aurélien Barreau – 5-14; Half-time – Ireland 5 France 14; 48 mins – Ireland try: Éanna McCarthy – 10-14; conversion: Sam Wisniewski – 12-14; 54 mins – Ireland try: Niall Smyth – 17-14; conversion: Sam Wisniewski – 19-14; 65 mins – France try: Bartholomé Sanson – 19-19; conversion: Ugo Pacome – 19-21; 70 mins – France try: Mathis Ibo – 19-26; conversion: Ugo Pacome – 19-28; 75 mins – Ireland try: Henry Walker – 24-28; conversion: Dylan Hicks – 26-28; Full-time – Ireland 26 France 28

IRELAND U-19: Todd Lawlor (Newbridge College/Leinster); Andre Ryan (Belvedere College/Leinster), Gene O’Leary Kareem (PBC Cork/Munster), Evan Moynihan (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Ciaran Mangan (Newbridge College/Leinster); Sam Wisniewski (Clontarf FC/Leinster), Will Wootton (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby); Billy Bohan (Newbridge College/Leinster), Mikey Yarr (Lansdowne FC/Leinster) (capt), Niall Smyth (Blackrock College/Leinster), Conor Kennelly (CBC Cork/Munster), Michael Foy (CBC Cork/Munster), Tommy Butler (Blackrock College/Leinster), Oisin Minogue (St. Munchin’s College/Munster), Éanna McCarthy (UCC RFC/Munster).

Replacements: Henry Walker (Queen’s University Belfast RFC/Ulster), Emmet Calvey (Shannon RFC/Munster), Alex Mullan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster), Mahon Ronan (St. Mary’s Diocesan School Drogheda/Boyne RFC/Leinster), Aaron O’Brien (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Dylan Hicks (Garryowen FC/Munster), Clark Logan (Coleraine Grammar School/Ulster), Zack Hopkins (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Jonny Scott (Banbridge RFC/Ulster), Jack Angulo (Blackrock College/Leinster), David Walsh (St. Michael’s College/Leinster).

FRANCE U-20 DEVELOPMENT: Ugo Pacome (US Colomiers) (capt); Yannick Lodjro (Stade Français Paris), Clément Barthes (Castres Olympique), Diego Jurd (Stade Rochelais), Mathis Ibo (Stade Français Paris); Aurélien Barreau (Montpellier HR), Simon Daroque (Stade Toulousain); Loïc Varenne (Stade Toulousain), Baptiste Narmand (Lyon OU), Mathis Boureau d’Argonne (Racing 92), Charles Kante Samba (Stade Rochelais), Yanis Lux (Stade Français Paris), Antoine Deliance (Lyon OU), Geoffrey Malaterre (CA Brive Corrèze), Jean-Jacques Cassio (Stade Montois).

Replacements: Quentin Algay (CA Brive Corrèze), Sascha Mistrulli (FC Grenoble), Thomas Marceline (Lyou OU), Giani Callegari (US Carcassonne), Bartholomé Sanson (Lyon OU), Rémi Loop (Castres Olympique), Antoine Chalus-Cercy (AS Clermont Auvergne), Thibaut Motassi (Stade Français Paris), Titoan Rouvelet (Montpellier HR), Johan Wasserman (USO Nevers), Oliver Cowie (RC Toulon).