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French firepower outguns Ireland

The Ireland Clubs went down 19-13 to France in an U-18 international at Templeville Road yesterday.

The Irish boys poured all their energy into a superb start, Dungarvan left-wing Seamus Keating flying over early on and Charleville lock John Madigan the beneficiary of a second try from the solid work of a tight-knit forward pack.

Navan fly-half Fergal Cleary could not convert either try, but added a penalty to guide Ireland to a 13-10 lead at the interval, with the French scores coming from a try after a driving maul for captain Adrien Corbex to go with another by Yoan Le Bourhis.

There was everything to play for as Ireland set about defending their three-point advantage. However, the power of the French began to tell as they activated heavy firepower from the bench to win the territorial battle.

Eventually, the penalties had to come and Le Bourhis brought the visitors level in the 42nd minute, while his replacement Adrian Bau added two killer kicks in the last quarter.

Ireland U-18 Clubs -- R Pepper-Hobbs (Westport); A Enright (Abbeyfeale), A Byrne (UCD), S O'Hagan (London Irish), S Keating (Dungarvan); F Cleary (Navan), K O'Keeffe (Crosshaven); P Dooley (Birr, Capt), P O'Donnell (Galwegians), J Walshe (Ballinasloe), R Blair (Ballymoney), J Madigan (Charleville), K Sweeney (Malahide), J Bercis (Exiles), J O'Donoghue (Waterpark, capt). Replacements: C Blade (Monivea) for O'Keefe (h-t); B Cunningham (Navan) for Walshe (49), S Flannagan (Buccaneers) for O'Donnell (49); L Connolly (Exiles) for Blair (55), F Taggart (Exiles) for Bercis (55); S Dalton (Exiles) for Dooley (63), E O'Reilly (Buccaneers) for Keating (63).

CRICKET

Kevin Pietersen was back to his explosive -- and controversial -- best as his stunning century put England in control of the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Pietersen came to the crease with a top score of 32 in eight innings this year, but by the end of day three at the P.Sara Stadium he had become the sixth man to score 20 Test centuries for England, with his 151 helping England reach stumps, 181 ahead.

His innings contained six sixes and 16 fours but also included an official warning from the umpires for altering his stance before the bowler's delivery stride, collected during an eventful passage of play in which Tillakaratne Dilshan twice refused to bowl after Pietersen re-set his position at the crease. Had he transgressed again, England would have been given a five-run penalty.

Alastair Cook had earlier fallen six short of his own 20th century and Jonathan Trott contributed a fluent 64 in England's total of 460 all out.

RUGBY

Wasps' future was thrown into jeopardy last night after it was revealed that owner Steve Hayes had been arrested and released on bail in February following investigations into illegal computer-hacking.

The news could not come at a worse time for the Aviva Premiership club, who were optimistic of attracting new owners or investors in the wake last weekend's victory over Gloucester that markedly improved their chances of league survival.

Hayes put the club, who he has owned since 2008 in conjunction with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club, on the market last October.

Irish Independent