Sport Rugby

Saturday 21 April 2018

French power floors Ireland

France's insistence on committing all their U-18 resources to the FIRA-AER European Championship paid handsome dividends when they overwhelmed Ireland in the final for the third straight year in Treviso on Saturday.

Ireland team manager Willie Gribben admitted: "They were very powerful, very strong, physical up front -- they scored three tries by driving mauls -- and direct in their running. They created a lot of problems for us.

"It all started with a try in the fourth minute and they continued the pressure all the way through to the 34th minute when they scored their fifth try. Their off-loading was typically French.

"This is their strongest XV, whereas we are a divided group with players from the schools involved in the U-18 Five Nations in Wales this week and mostly the club players and exiles playing in this competition.

"We played well in the second half, having the better of the territory. It was a great experience for the boys. They worked really hard over here for the three matches".

The French brought a level of power and aggression that Ireland could not handle. Prop Sebastien Taofifenua (2), flanker Alexandre Derrien (2) and full-back Jordan Matier all touched down for tries, full-back Calum Boland kicking Ireland's penalty three minutes into the second half.

France -- Matier; Pujol, Pouyenne-Vignau, Fuster, Artru; Otazo, Ecochard; Taofifenua, Fidinde, Poirot, Chalureau, Gayraud (capt), Derrien, Boukechiche, Chateau.

Ireland -- C Boland (Buccaneers); F Kenny (Greystones) (C McGovern, Crosshaven), T Daly (Carlow), C Farrell (Clogher Valley) (J Carty, Buccaneers), S Layden (Cistercian, Roscrea); G Connon (Newcastle Falcons), K Marmion (Exiles) (J Walsh, London Wasps); K Ball (Saracens) (T Margetson, Wellington College), J Murphy (Banbridge) (C Tonge, Skerries), T Furlong (New Ross, capt), C Kindregan (Monivea) (C Ryan, Navan), A O'Connor (Skerries), D Mannion (Wicklow), C Gallagher (Banbridge) (C Clancy, London Irish), E Masterson (Portlaoise).

Ref -- M Himmer, Germany.

Irish Independent

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