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U20s crash to France

It was a case of so close and yet so far for as Ireland fell to their first defeat in the U20 Six Nations with a 20-15 loss to France in a cold Mazamet, near Toulouse, last night.

After Ireland showed some early nerves, France's No8 Benjamin Geledan failed to roll away at a ruck and out-half James McKinney kicked the penalty for a 0-3 lead.

This prompted a period of French pressure, yielding a penalty, converted by out-half Gilles Bosch.

A loose box-kick from John Cooney enabled the French to counter for centre Mathieu Lamoulie to flash into the right corner for an 8-3 lead.

The Irish then swarmed the hosts and McKinney soon slotted two penalties. He extended the lead for an 8-12 advantage at the break.

On the resumption, though, Bosch cut the deficit with a penalty, and gained the lead with another. Ben Marshall then pulled down a maul and Bosch scored for a 17-12 lead.

A Nevin Spence break enabled replacement out-half Brian Kingston to strike a superb kick from the right touchline, but Bosch struck again as Ireland lost out.