Irish Rugby | Ireland Under-19s Draw Series After France Storm Back

UNDER-19 MEN’S INTERNATIONAL MATCH: Saturday, April 16

IRELAND UNDER-19s 21 FRANCE UNDER-20 DEVELOPMENT XV 50, St. Mary’s College RFC
Scorers: Ireland Under-19s: Tries: Liam Molony, James Nicholson, Ruadhan Quinn; Cons: Sam Prendergast 3
France Under-20 Development XV: Tries: Clément Mondinat 2, Léo Labarthe, Yerim Fall 2, Nicolas Depoortere, Hugo Parrou; Cons: Clément Mondinat 6; Pen: Clément Mondinat
HT: Ireland U-19s 21 France U-20 Development XV 10

Having won 26-21 in Belfast in Monday’s opener, the Kieran Hallett-coached Ireland side drew the series with France. Their first taste of age-grade international rugby was a great learning experience for all involved.

Sam Prendergast converted tries from debutant Liam Molony, James Nicholson and Ruadhan Quinn – the last one coming in the 33rd minute – as Ireland led 21-3 on the cusp of half-time.

However, Clément Mondinat squeezed in a late try and the powerful French outfit went on to take a stranglehold in the second half, capitalizing on Irish errors and showing some very good execution in attack.

Their tries during the final 35 minutes came from captain Léo Labarthe, Yerim Fall (2), Nicolas Depoortere, Mondinat and replacement Hugo Parrou. Full-back Mondinat finished with a handsome 25-point haul.

Mondinat used a scrum penalty to open the scoring in the fourth minute, before Ireland, launched forward by Nicholson’s kick down the left wing, replied from their first real opportunity in the French 22.

Ihechi Oji popped up in midfield off a scrum, bringing the hosts up up to a few meters out, before Molony arrowed in between two defenders to crash over just to the right of the posts.

After Prendergast’s close-range conversion, Mondinat was off target with a penalty at the other end but Ireland’s attack was beginning to exploit some defensive holes and that led to further points in the 17th minute.

From a scrum just inside the French half, they attacked out to the left where a dummying Ross Taylor surged through a gap and passed inside for Nicholson to raid in behind the posts. Prendergast’s boot made it 14-3.

Oji made meters again as Ireland exited well and he ran back a French kick. Fellow winger Rory Telfer’s efforts at the breakdown launched Hallett’s youngsters forward, but the wind was causing problems for both lineouts.

Center Depoortere collected his own chip kick to get France on the move, but Raphaël Portat was penalized for obstruction as they looked set to score from a well-driven lineout maul.

Good running from Telfer and Taylor, combined with French indiscipline, led to two maul opportunities for Ireland. They landed in France back on their own line and number 8 Quinn muscled over from a series of pick and goes.

Prendergast’s conversion should have been the half’s last scoring act, but an Oji knock-on proved costly. Les Bleuets built a momentum off it and Mondinat flew through a gap on the short side to touch down and add the conversion.

France resumed playing at a higher tempo and with more accuracy to their play, under the baton of impressive replacement scrum half Liam Rimet. A break out to the left was moved infield and nice hands put Labarthe under the posts.

Mondinat converted and also added the extras to Fall’s 43rd-minute effort as France regained the lead. Rimet’s quick tap set the wheels in motion, Labarthe barged up into the Irish 22 and Arthur Mathiron’s grubber kick sat up nicely for the winger to score.

Now trailing 24-21, Ireland needed a swift response but skipper James McNabney knocked on at a lineout and France countered brilliantly. Their backs found space on the left and Fall got past Prendergast for a 40-meter run-in and seven more points.

As Ireland struggled for territory, an attack from deep broke down between Taylor and replacement Liam McCarthy. France swept play out to the left again and set up Depoortere to get past Josh Costello for a 58th-minute converted try.

Replacement Costello did well from the restart, winning a decision at the breakdown, but Charlie Irvine’s knock-on at the resulting lineout allowed France to find a touch back on the Irish 10-meter line.

Unfortunately for Ireland, another midfield move failed to work out, the ball going to ground and France swooped to send Mondinat over by the left corner flag with the scoreboard now showing 43-21.

A couple of deft offloads and clever angles of running saw the French flood forward for a final try, Ireland paying the price for missed tackles as replacement front rower Parrou charged over from 25 meters out and Mondinat converted.

Replacement Henry Buttimer’s good work under the high ball and a subsequent penalty brought Ireland back within sight of the French whitewash, but the lineout misfired and the visitors claimed the spoils by a clear 29 points.

IRELAND U-19: James Nicholson (St. Michael’s College / Leinster); Rory Telfer (Coleraine Grammar School / Ulster), Hugh Cooney (Blackrock College / Leinster), Ross Taylor (City of Armagh RFC / Ulster), Ihechi Oji (Cistercian College Roscrea / Munster); Sam Prendergast (Lansdowne FC / Leinster), James Wright (Ballymena RFC / Ulster); George Hadden (Clontarf FC / Leinster), Conall Henchy (Crescent College Comprehensive / Munster), Danny McCarthy (Midleton RFC / Ulster), Patrick Browne (Ballymena RFC / Ulster), Charlie Irvine (Queen’s University Belfast RFC / Ulster), James McNabney (Ballymena RFC / Ulster) (capt), Liam Molony (Blackrock College RFC / Leinster), Ruadhan Quinn (Crescent College Comprehensive / Munster).

Replacements: Tom Barry (Lansdowne FC / Leinster), Jack Boal (Belfast Harlequins RFC / Ulster), George Morris (Gonzaga College / Leinster), James Doyle (Enniscorthy RFC / Leinster), Daniel Leane (St. Mary’s College RFC / Leinster), George Shaw (Cardiff University / IQ Rugby), Andrew O’Mahony (UCC RFC / Munster), Jeff Williams (Bandon Grammar School / Munster), Liam McCarthy (Bandon Grammar School / Munster), Henry Buttimer (Rockwell College / Munster), Josh Costello (Shannon RFC / Munster).

FRANCE U-20 DEVELOPMENT XV: Clément Mondinat (Section Paloise); Enzo Benmegal (Racing 92), Nicolas Depoortere (Union Bordeaux Bègles), Paul Costes (Stade Toulousain), Yerim Fall (RC Massy Essonne); Arthur Mathiron (Lyon OU), Louison Gras (Castres Olympique); Louis Penverne (Stade Rochelais), Adrien Sonzogni (Montpellier HR), Kimi Esse (Lyon OU), Raphaël Portat (Stade Toulousain), Léo Labarthe (Stade Toulousain) (capt), Jeremy Bechu (US Colomiers), Hugo Sarrasin (ASM Clermont) Auvergne), Marvin Okuya (Lyon OU).

Replacements: Hugo Parrou (Section Paloise), Adrien Mallet (Stade Français Paris), Karl Sorin (Stade Rochelais), Valentin Simutoga (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Yoni Tuataane (RC Vannes), Clément Sentubery (Stade Toulousain), Oscar Jegou (Stade Rochelais) , Liam Rimet (Lyon OU), Arthur Diaz (US Colomiers), Léon Darricarrere (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Joseph Exshaw (Union Bordeaux Bègles).

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