The Irish Under 21s produced an excellent performance in Musgrave Park to defeat a highly rated French side 13-12 in front of a large attendance.
The Irish Under 21s produced an excellent performance in Musgrave Park to defeat a highly rated French side 13-12 in front of a large attendance. In the closing stages of the game the French came looking for the score that might win the game. With over seven minutes of injury time played replacement, Pierre Emmanuel Garcia scored wide on the left but the conversion from another replacement, Yannick Lafforgue was wide of the mark. Had it gone over it would have done the home side a grave injustice. They trailed 7-5 at the end of an entertaining first half, their try coming in the first minute of injury time when Tommy Bowe crossed for on the right at the Well end. Ireland had gone behind to a well worked try from centre Jean Phillippe Grandclaude in the 15th minute following a smart break from impressive out-half, Benoit Baby. They were fortunate not to be further in arrears when Thomas Soucaze crossed under the posts in the 28th minute, but referee Colin Saunders was badly positioned and failed to see the French flanker ground the ball. At the start of the second half, Ireland scored again when Bowe raced home from his own ten metre line after the French had coughed up the ball and in the 61st minute out-half Michael Rainey put six points between the sides when he converted a 30 metre penalty. Just prior to that, Bowe had been replaced by Peter O'Brien whose first act was to chase back and save a certain try when Vincent Deniau sprinted clear. And that was the pattern of the Irish defence. Whenever the French crossed the gainline there was an Irish jersey there to cover back. In the final moments the home side displayed a fierce determination to gain a victory they richly deserved. Ireland T Bowe (Belfast Harlequins); R Lane (UCC), K Matthews (UL Bohemian), B Murphy (UL Bohemian), J Hearty (Blackrock College); M Rainey (Dundee HSFP), F O'Loughlin (Shannon); E McGovern (Old Crescent), N Best (Belfast Harlequins), J Moran (UCD); N McCombe, (Glasgow Hawks), D Gannon (UCD); J Muldoon (Galwegians), S Keogh capt (UCC), N Ronan (Lansdowne). Replacements: D Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins) for Moran 666 min). C Potts (St Mary's College) Muldoon 61 min). P O'Brien (UCC) for Bowe 52 min temp; for Matthews 69 min temp) France Etcheverria (Biarritz); Sestaret (Section Paloise), Lison (Grenoble), Grandclaude (B ziers), Donguy (Brive); Baby (Stade Toulousain), Durand (B ziers); Lamboley (Stade Toulousain, capt), Soucaze (Biarritz), Nyanga (B ziers), Friand (Agen), Marchois (Stade Fran ais), Bergos (Pau), Rioux (Stade Toulousain), Berhabe (Dax). Replacements: Vigouroux (Perpignan), Forestier (Albi), Millo-Chlusky (Stade Toulousain), Deniau (Montferrand), C Garcia (Montauban), PE Garcia (Narbonne), Lafforgue (B ziers).