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Sam Prendergast Seals A Tense 33-31 Win For Ireland U20s Over France

Sam Prendergast Seals A Tense 33-31 Win For Ireland U20s Over France
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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Ireland kept alive their dream of back-to-back U20s Grand Slams, after an epic 33-31 victory over France at Musgrave Park.

Having dominated large parts of the first half, France managed to keep in touch at the break, before both sides exchanged the lead multiple times in the second half.

A clutch penalty from Sam Prendergast, with two minutes remaining, proved to be difference between the two best teams in the competition.

Another U20s Cracker

Contrary to last week's game against Wales - where Ireland had to muster all of their goal line defence prowess to keep the Welsh at bay in the opening minutes - Ireland began the stronger of the two sides against France and were camped inside their 22.

Despite coughing possession in favourable positions, Ireland did manage to make their dominance count and were 10-0 ahead after 15 minutes, courtesy of a Paddy McCarthy try, and a penalty and conversion from Sam Prendergast.

France also displayed their power with powerful carrying, and were rewarded with a score from second row Hugo Auradou.

Irish pressure began to tell once again, with their scrum utterly dominating the French pack. A Prendergast penalty/conversion and a Hugh Gavin try then made it 20-14 to the home side.


While it was a skilful finish from Gavin in traffic, there remains question marks over whether he grounded the ball.

France did hit back almost immediately through second row Brent Liufau, after a huge French maul, but were under the cosh near the end of the first 40 with two men in the sin bin.

Following an end-to-end finish to the first half, Ireland would have been disappointed to only be 20-14 up, after squandering a couple of scoring chances.


Ireland U20s vs France U20s Highlights






READ HERE: Ireland U20s : Sonny Bill Williams Pays Sam Prendergast The Ultimate Compliment

France took heart from being able to keep in touch after the opening 40, and turned the tables on Ireland by applying serious pressure through their maul, and domination of territory, while Ireland suddenly became the team with two men in the bin.

Despite a serious defensive effort from Ireland in the first 20 minutes of the second half, France eventually broke the seal with two tries in quick succession from Theo Attissogbe and Lenni Nouchi.

Thankfully for Ireland they were not able to add the extras.

Ireland finally managed to put together a number of phases, and a decision to go for the line rather than the posts paid off when last week's MOTM Brian Gleeson barrelled over from close range.

Ireland undid themselves almost immediately, however, when they dropped the subsequent kick-off and allowed Enzo Benmegal to over in the corner. Hugo Reus had taken over the kicking duties and slotted a beauty from the touchline to make it 30-31 to France with just six minutes remaining.

Ireland's and Sam Prendergast's calmness showed up in spades during the last five minutes. After badly missing a 48 metre penalty, Prendergast would get another shot with just two minutes to go, and he made no mistake to clinch a phenomenal win.

SEE ALSO: The 2013 Ireland U20s - Where Are They Now?

ireland u20s 2013 six nations

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