Jump to main content


PWC logo

Match Page - Scoreboard

Ireland U-19s Beaten In Bastia As Easter Series Is Drawn
Report Stats

Ireland U-19s Beaten In Bastia As Easter Series Is Drawn

Ireland U-19s Beaten In Bastia As Easter Series Is Drawn

The Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 teams are in Easter action, following on from the Under-20s' Six Nations Grand Slam success ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

The Ireland Under-19s (sponsored by PwC) missed out on their second tour win over France whose opportunist late try from winger Nathanaël Hulleu secured a hard-fought 15-6 victory at Stade Armand-Cesari in Bastia, Corsica.

The France Under-20 Development team, whose unbeaten record had been claimed by Ireland in Lumio on Tuesday, were made to work very hard for tonight’s result due to an immense performance from Ireland captain David McCann and his team-mates, particularly in defence.

Ulster Academy back rower McCann captained a starting XV showing 11 personnel changes from that 21-17 comeback triumph, and Tom Tierney’s youngsters started the second game strongly. Full-back Oran McNulty was rock solid under the first high ball and a subsequent penalty launched Ireland into French territory.

Blackrock College’s Sean O’Brien was prominent early on, winning the first lineout and then carrying hard up to five metres out after full-back Erwan Dridi had fumbled a pass in front of the French posts. Further pressure came with a maul which was grounded just a couple of metres out from the hosts’ line.

Ireland worked some space out wide on the right and were a pass away from scoring. McCann’s quick floated pass went over the head of Aaron Sexton and found fellow winger Andrew Smith close to the touchline. Had the captain connected with Sexton, a try was there for the taking. Instead, Smith was crowded out and forced into touch.

French skipper Yann Peysson was very fortunate to get away with playing the ball on the ground, a subsequent turnover allowing Joris Moura to break from deep and almost set up Hulleu for a try against the run of play. Smith and Jack Crowley combined to bring him down, while a Sexton interception soon clawed back some of those lost metres.

Out-half Moura did nudge France in front with a 17th minute penalty from straight in front, and as the home side sought to add to their lead, Ireland dug deep in defence. Waterpark lock Eoin O’Connor stole a lineout and Moura’s forward pass ruled out a try in the right corner for flanker Thibaut Hamonou.

The preceding phases had seen important tackles from Anthony Ryan, Paddy Kelly, Fionn Finlay and Ryan McMahon, with centres Ben Power and Joe Henry also working hard together in midfield, and the scrum delivered a relieving penalty. That hard work translated into three points on the half hour mark, Bandon Grammar School’s Crowley punishing an offside from just inside the 10-metre line.

France had a number of phases close to the Irish line, nearing half-time, but 3-3 is how it remained with second row Kelly ripping the ball back in a tackle and Ireland’s dogged defence holding firm under intense pressure. Scrum half Charlie O’Doherty foiled a Calum Randle break, and O’Doherty’s opposite number Baptiste Germain lost the ball forward as he was smothered by defenders, just metres out.

Harry Noonan, Liam Winnett and Ciaran Booth were all brought on for the start of the second period. Sexton did well to dot down Moura’s dangerous kick for a 22-metre drop-out, and the Irish defence stood up well again as Crowley and replacement Luis Faria doubled up to force a knock-on.

McCann’s carrying off a scrappy scrum and the kicking of Crowley and replacement Lewis Finlay brought Ireland back up to the French 22. Finlay drew a high tackle on a kick return, allowing Crowley to edge Ireland in front for the first time after 45 minutes’ play. The Cork youngster put Noonan through a gap soon after, the pacy prop making it over halfway before the ball went loose in contact.

However, France managed to hit back with the game’s opening try just a few minutes later. After a couple of costly penalties had pinned Ireland back, replacement hooker Pierre Jutge was driven over via a close-in lineout maul. Fellow reserve Cheikh Tiberghien converted but was then held up in a choke tackle, instigated by McNulty and Smith, a couple of phases later.

Determined to draw closer at 10-6 down, a robust spell of carrying from the likes of McCann and replacements Thomas Ahern and Brian Deeny punched some holes in the Frence defence, yet Crowley was narrowly wide with a 58th-minute penalty effort after Ballynahinch scrum half Finlay had been taken out at the back of a ruck.

French replacement prop Sacha Lotrian was perhaps lucky to concede only a penalty when catching Crowley with a late tackle. Frustratingly, Ireland followed up with a mistimed lineout, and when they threatened with ball in hand a few phases later courtesy of a Sexton break, fellow winger Smith’s kick in behind beat everyone over the end line.

France turned to their heavier pack to press for the match-winning score, going close off a five-metre scrum as the strong-carrying Tana Vili was held up in a pile-up over the try-line. Sexton raised Ireland’s hopes with an interception, but in their attempts to break from deep, Tierney’s charges crucially coughed up possession in the final minute.

With Noonan down receiving treatment, his team-mates probed for an opening out wide as Sexton linked with John McKee, the captain from Tuesday’s win. The hooker unfortunately lost the ball in contact, allowing Jutge to feed the speedy Hulleu who darted up the touchline and evaded Crowley’s despairing challenge to score near the right corner.

Referee: Rhys Jones (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Erwan Dridi (RC Toulon); Nathanaël Hulleu (FC Grenoble), Romain Fusier (FC Grenoble), Simon Renda (Stade Toulousain), Calum Randle (Montpellier RC); Joris Moura (Lyon OU), Baptiste Germain (Union Bordeaux-Bègles); Andy Bordelai (Racing 92), Mathis Sarragallet (FC Grenoble), Hugo Ndiaye (Lyon OU), Mickaël Guillard (RC Massy), Adrien Warion (Provence Rugby), Yann Peysson (US Colomiers) (capt), Thibaut Hamonou (Stade Toulousain), Clément Fournier (Section Paloise). Replacements: Alexis Decaux (Castres Olympique), Pierre Jutge (US Colomiers), Sacha Lotrian (USA Perpignan), Lilian Rousset (FC Grenoble), Théo William (Lyon OU), Kevin Viallard (AS Clermont Auvergne), Thomas Dolhagaray (Aviron Bayonnais), Tana Vili (AS Montferrand), Cheikh Tiberghien (Aviron Bayonnais), Grégoire Bazin (RC Vannes), Alexandre Lalanne (Aviron Bayonnais).

Away Team

Oran McNulty (Galwegians/Connacht); Andrew Smith (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Ben Power (Queen's University/Ulster), Joe Henry (London Irish/IQ Rugby), Aaron Sexton (Bangor Grammar School/Ulster); Jack Crowley (Bandon Grammar School/Munster), Charlie O'Doherty (Newcastle West/Munster); Fionn Finlay (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Scott Buckley (CBC Cork/Munster), Ryan McMahon (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster), Paddy Kelly (Young Munster/Munster), Eoin O'Connor (Waterpark/Munster), Sean O'Brien (Blackrock College/Leinster), Anthony Ryan (Dublin University/Leinster), David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt). Replacements used: Harry Noonan (Old Wesley/Leinster) for Finlay, Liam Winnett (Buccaneers/Connacht) for McMahon, Ciaran Booth (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby) for Ryan (all half-time), John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Buckley, Luis Faria (Dublin University/Leinster) for Power, Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster) for O'Connor (all 40), Lewis Finlay (Ballynahinch/Ulster) for O'Doherty (43), Mark Hernan (St. Michael's College/Leinster) for Ryan, Thomas Ahern (Shannon/Munster) for Kelly (both 50), Mick O'Gara (Presentation College Bray/Leinster) for Henry (63), Ethan McIlroy (Methodist College Belfast/Ulster) for McNulty (64).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Pierre Jutge, Nathanaël Hulleu; Con: Cheikh Tiberghien; Pen: Joris Moura

Away Team

Pens: Jack Crowley 2