Saturday 27 December 2014

France edge out Ireland in thrilling World Cup play-off

Published 17/08/2014 | 17:31

Ireland's Grace Davitt attempts to break through the French defensive line at the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup 3rd / 4th place Play-off
Ireland's Grace Davitt attempts to break through the French defensive line at the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup 3rd / 4th place Play-off

Ireland's World Cup campaign came to a disappointing end in Marcoussis when they lost a highly entertaining 3rd/4th place play-off to the hosts France 25-18.

After a heavy defeat the hands of England, Philip Doyle's side regrouped admirably, but came up just short in a ding-dong encounter.

The girls in green made a bright start and full-back Niamh Briggs put Ireland ahead after some early physical exchanges, finishing from close range after a number of phases.

The Waterford woman converted her own score, but the home crowd were soon in full voice when the French side finished off a driving maul to level matters in front of the sizeable attendance.

Similar to the England defeat, it was noticeable the pressure Ireland were under at set-pieces.

However, as is the hallmark under Doyle's stewardship, they demonstrated no shortage of resilience to re-take the lead.

Briggs, who had just missed her previous attempt at the posts penalty, stepped up to the mark again to extend the lead with a penalty, but in a game of nip-and-tuck, the hosts hit back immediately.

Tremouliere got herself on the scoresheet for France over for France who made hard work of it but their scrum again setting a great platform.

Not deterred, Ireland again took the initiative with Grace Davitt claimed the score of the game after she collects her own dink to finish in style and Ireland took a 15-12 lead into the changing room at the interval.

Christelle Le Duff had an early shot at goal on the resumption and then the French maul really got going to knock Ireland onto the back foot. Soon the ball was spread wide and a lovely pass from Mayans led Elodie Guiglion over for the try and France were back ahead.

Ireland’s scrum struggled throughout, but as ever, Briggs helped Ireland back into it, kicking a penalty over from 35 metres and with it Ireland were back in front.

The lead didn’t last long as Tremouliere kicked the hosts back in front and a try with the last play of the game from Guiglion wrapped up a 25-18 victory to end what has been a memorable World Cup for the women in green.

IRELAND: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary's College/Leinster).

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