Bosch powers france clear as irish pay for indiscipline
It was a case of so close and, yet, so far for as Ireland fell to their first defeat in the U-20 Six Nations at a near freezing Stade de la Chevalaire in Mazamet last night.
The French made six changes and Ireland showed nerves early on, with half-backs James McKinney and John Cooney kicking into touch on the full.
Wing Simon Zebo showed them the error of their ways with an excellent angled kick to force a line-out from where France No 8 Benjamin Geledan was penalised for not rolling away at a ruck. McKinney converted the penalty.
This prompted a period of aggressive pressure from France, yielding a penalty to out-half Gilles Bosch when Dominic Ryan was harshly pinged at a ruck.
A loose box-kick from Cooney enabled the French to counter for right wing Clement Lagain to send centre Mathieu Lamoulie flashing into the right corner for an 8-3 lead in the 20th minute.
Immediately, the Irish swarmed all over the French and McKinney slotted his second penalty when Geledan refused to roll away at ruck time. When openside Mickael Ivaldi strayed offside, McKinney put Ireland in front. He extended the advantage to four points when centre Brendan Macken and Ryan sprinted onto a loose ball where the French went off their feet.
On the resumption, though, Ben Marshall dived into a ruck to hand Bosch another three points. A high tackle from Ryan ceded the lead to France. It got even worse when Marshall pulled down a maul for Bosch to nail his fourth penalty.
The to-and-fro continued as Nevin Spence hurtled through the middle for a phase of front-foot rugby that enabled replacement out-half Brian Kingston to strike a superb kick from the right touchline. But Bosch came back for more when hooker Niall Annett took a man out off the ball.
France U-20 -- J Fritz (B Dulin 31); C Lagain (A Hubert 49), M Lamoulie, R Barthélémy, J Sinzelle; G Bosch, A Bales (Lafforgeu 75); B Geledan (M Giudicelli h-t), M Ivaldi, G Lamache (E Arous h-t), J Sousa, G Souvent (M Blondin 75), J Grange, T Molcard (capt), A Erbani (K Gourdon 63).
Ireland U-20: A Conway; D Hudson, B Macken, N Spence, S Zebo; J McKinney (B Kingston 43), J Cooney; B Cagney, N Annett, J O'Connell (S Maguire 74), D O'Callaghan, B Marshall (B Hayes 71), R Ruddock (capt), D Ryan, P Butler.
Ref -- G Garner (England).