Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ireland are no match for powerful French side in entertaining club encounter

Irelands Clubs 12 France Federale 37

Ireland's Paul Pritchard is tackled by France's Julien Lavie
Ireland's Paul Pritchard is tackled by France's Julien Lavie
Matt D'Arcy, Ireland Clubs, evades a tackle from Julien Lavie, France Clubs.
Danny Riordan, Ireland Clubs, races clear against France Clubs.
Stephen Gardner, Ireland Clubs, is tackled by Kevin Burgaud, left, and Lucas Levy
Paul Pritchard, Ireland Clubs, hidden, scores his side's first try.
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland's club side were unable to follow up the seniors' win over France as they fell to a second consecutive defeat.

Paul Cunningham's charges took on a French side made up of amateur club players from the Federale league in what was a first meeting between the two countries at this level.

The game was given centre stage at the Aviva Stadium following Joe Schmidt's side's 18-11 win but, in truth, Ireland were no match for France, despite starting well.

Using the Barbarian ethos of lining out in club socks, Ireland hit the front inside the opening ten minutes. They declined the three points on offer and were rewarded when Ballynahinch flanker Paul Pritchard dotted down after a powerful rolling maul.

But for a last-ditch Angus Lloyd tackle, France would have hit back instantly but they didn't have to wait much longer.

Ireland made a crucial error in carrying the ball over their own line and from the resulting five-metre scrum, France moved the ball wide for Lucas Levy to score.

Julien Lavie converted and added a penalty soon after, before Lloyd's pass was intercepted by Stephane Bonvalot who sprinted over from the halfway line.

Lavie again converted and Levy added a penalty to give France a commanding 20-5 lead at the break.

Cunningham introduced fresh legs for the second period and that had an immediate impact as Ireland, just like they did the first, began the half by scoring a try.

Jonathan Slattery almost got over but when Ireland's maul came up short of the line, the ball was spun wide for Lansdowne centre Mark Roche to cross the whitewash. Darragh Lyons added the extras to give his side hope of mounting a comeback.

Those hopes were short-lived, however, and Ireland's cause certainly wasn't helped by the sin-binning of Ballymena flanker Stephen Mullholland shortly before the hour mark.

Lavie fired over a penalty and French captain Julien Capdeillayre crossed for another seven-pointer.

Despite a yellow card to a French player, Guillaume Geledan took advantage of an Irish mistake to get over for a fourth converted try as Ireland came up well short.

Ireland Clubs - D Riordan; S Coughlan, M Roche, M D'Arcy (c), K McGrath; D Lyons, A Lloyd (G Hurley h-t); I Prendiville (A Boland h-t), A O'Driscoll (E Rossiter h-t), G Sweeney (P O'Shea h-t); S Gardner, F Walsh; S Mulholland, P Pritchard, J Slattery. Reps: E Rossiter, A Boland, P O'Shea, C Smyth, S Walsh, G Hurley, S Murphy, S O'Neill.

France FEdErale - L Levy; P Lafitte, CK Burgaud, T Anies, S Bonvalot; J Lavie, P Dubert; M Curie, P Rodriguez, N Kwarazfelia; B Senac, A Potenta; D Costanzo, G Geledan, J Capdeillayre (c).

Ref - E Hogan O'Connell (IRFU)

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