Wednesday 21 February 2018

Murphy try not enough to slay French

Junior World Championship: France 9, Ireland 8

John Fallon

IT will finish as it started, taking on Australia, but unlike the opening game of the championship, Sunday's battle for seventh place will be a disappointing conclusion to a tournament which Ireland at one stage looked like winning.

Last night they falied to rise to the heights that they produced in the pool stages and paid the price in the end against a French team who never even looked like crossing the line. Ireland got the only try of the match but struggled to impose themselves in what was their poorest display so far in the tournament at a cold and wet Stade Henri Desgrange in La Roche-Sur-Yon.

It started badly for Ireland, with Darren Sweetnam receiving a yellow card after just 90 seconds following an awkward tackle on Francois Bouvier. Scrum-half Baptiste Serin nailed the penalty from the left wing to give the hosts a perfect start.

Ireland then suffered a double blow when both props, Chris Taylor and Peter Dooley, were forced off through injury.

Ireland, though, responded well and hit the front six minutes from the break when Sweetnam did well to collect a crossfield kick from Steve Crosbie and, after Ireland forced a five-metre scrum, they got the shove on and No 8 Ryan Murphy touched down.

Rory Scannell was unable to convert and France regained the lead just before the break when Serin made no mistake with a 30-metre penalty in front of the posts to make it 6-5 at the interval.

Ireland needed a good start to the second half but conceded another penalty in front of their posts and Serin sent it over to make it 9-5.

Ireland, with openside flanker Josh Van Der Flier superb, got back into contention after a sustained bout of pressure and Scannell slotted a penalty from 25 metres to reduce the deficit to 9-8 with 15 minutes remaining.

But that was as near as they got. They piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but Scannell was off target with a late penalty and Ireland will now need to regroup to play Australia on Sunday.

FRANCE – T Thomas; M Wieprecht, F Vialelle, F Bouvier, W Thomas; E Selponi, B Serin; C Baille, R Ruffenach, K Vartanov; P Jedrasiak, J Aliouat; Y Camara, F Cros, M Babillot. Reps: J Heriteau for Vialelle (43), A Valette for Vartanov (56), L Bastien for Jedrasiak (63), S Parez for Wieprecht (67), R Hollet for Baille (78), A Placine for Babillot (78).

IRELAND – R Scholes (Ulster); D Sweetnam (Munster), T Farrell (Leinster), R Scannell (Munster), A Wootton (Northampton Saints); S Crosbie (Leinster), L McGrath (Leinster); P Dooley (Leinster), B Byrne (Leinster), C Taylor (Ulster); S McCarthy (Munster) J Donnan (Ulster); C Joyce (Ulster) J van der Flier (Leinster), R Murphy (Munster). Reps: A Boland (Connacht) for Taylor (23), E Byrne (Leinster) for Dooley (29), G McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons) for B Byrne (60), P Timmins (Leinster) for Joyce (60), D Shanahan (Leinster) for McGrath (67), D Panter (Connacht) for Wootton (67), M Roche (Connacht) for Farrell (72).

REF – A Lees (Australia).

Irish Independent

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