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Gutsy Ireland Lose Entertaining Game To France In U20 Six Nations

Gutsy Ireland Lose Entertaining Game To France In U20 Six Nations

Ireland lost 34-28 to France in the final round of the U20 Six Nations on Tuesday evening. It was their second loss of the tournament which saw them finish third in the table.

With time nearly up - and his side trailing 34-23 - Ireland captain Alex Kendellen crashed over for his second try of the game. Realising speed was required, Nathan Doak attempted to dropkick the conversion. He failed but did take the kick in time for one last restart. However, the clock ran out on a gutsy Ireland performance.

Fullback Jamie Osborne had got Ireland on the scoreboard in the 13th minute when he touched down for the first try of the game. Doak kicked the conversion to give his side a 7-3 lead.

Ireland looked ready to reinforce that lead in the 19th minute with good position on the France 22. However, a loose pass was clinically punished, with France racing to the other end of the pitch and out-half Thibault Debaes getting in for their first try.

France extended their lead to 17-7 in the 22nd minute through blindside flanker Pierre Bochaton who went over after a driving maul from a lineout.

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Doak quickly reduced the French advantage to seven points when he kicked a penalty after 25 minutes.

The game really sparked into life on the half hour mark when Ireland winger Shane Jennings caught a chip over the top from Osborne and raced into the French 22. A few carries later and Kendellen forced the ball down. Doak kicked the conversion and the game was level at 17-17.

Five minutes later, Ireland could not hold back several waves of French attacks, and tighthead Paul Mallez crossed the whitewash. Nolann Le Garrec added the extras and it was 24-17 to France.

Doak kicked the first score of the second half in the 49th minute, reducing the French lead to the minimum.

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Ireland weathered a downpour of French pressure for the opening 25 mintues of the second half only to be caught out badly after conceding a penalty inside their own 22. An opportunitic crosskick from Le Garrec found winger Louis Bielle Biarrey and France took a 31-23 lead. The French scrum-half knocked over a penalty minutes later to extend his side's advantage to 11 points.

That was France's final score of the game, and enough for victory despite the efforts of Ireland which followed.

England finished the tournament as Grand Slam champions with five bonus point wins from their five games.

Photo by Mark Lewis/Sportsfile

Analysis: Lots For Ireland U20s To Build On Despite Disappointing Defeat To England

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PJ Browne
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