France Under 20’s wrapped up their first ever Six Nations Championship with a hard fought win against Ireland U20’s in Tarbes on Friday night.
The match was a much better performance from Ireland U20’s, who’s defence kept them in the game in the first half before making a bit of a comeback in the second, though there can be few complaints with the final result given the home sides dominance up front.
France (10) 23
TRY: Romain Ruffenach, Jean-Blaise Lespinasse
CON: Baptiste Serin (2)
PEN: Baptiste Serin (3)
Ireland (3) 13
TRY: Frankie Taggart
CON: Ross Byrne
PEN: Conor McKeon, Ross Byrne
France went into the game looking for their first ever grand Slam at this level but it was Ireland that got the scoreboard ticking over with a 5th minute penalty from Conor McKeon.
The home side responded 5 minutes later through the boot of their scrum half Baptiste Serin and they pulled ahead in the second quarter with a try from hooker Romain Ruffenach as their pack began to get on top. Serin knocked over the conversion but with no further score in the first half the teams turned round with France leading 10 – 3
Serin and Ross Byrne, on for McKeon, swapped penalties in the third quarter to push the score along to 13 – 6 but Ireland set up an exciting finish with a strong final quarter.
A 65th minute try by Frankie Taggart, on for Rory Moloney, allowed Byrne to level the game at 13 – all with the conversion and though Serin inched France ahead by 3 with his third penalty it was still too close to call as the teams went into the final 8 minutes.
However, France rallied in the closing stages to take the game thanks to a last minute converted try from Jean-Blaise Lespinasse to give a final score of France 23 Ireland 13.
France U20’s claimed the Six Nations Championship with a Grand Slam with Ireland ending up a disappointing fourth with only wins against Scotland and Italy to show for their efforts this time round.
FRANCE U20: Pierre Justes, Kylan Hamdaoui, Xavier Mignot, François Bouvier, Lucas Blanc, Brandon Fajardo, Baptiste Serin, Oleg Ishchenko, Romain Ruffenach, Tommy Raynaud, Arthur Iturria, Jean-Baptiste Singer, Jean Thomas, Yacouba Camara, Francois Cros. Replacements: Florian Ardiaca, Youssef Amrouni, Simon Courcoul, Felix Lambey, Jean-Blaise Lespinasse, Thibault Daubagna, Ivan Roux, Francois Fontaine.
IRELAND U20: Cian Kelleher, Alex Wootton, Dan Goggin, Peter Robb, Adam Byrne, Conor McKeon, Jack Cullen, Peter Dooley, Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Sean O’Brien, Ross Molony, Peadar Timmins, Rory Moloney, Jack O’Donoghue. Replacements: Sean McNulty, Denis Coulson, Oisin Heffernan, Stephen Gardiner, Frankie Taggart, Nick McCarthy, Ross Byrne, David Busby
Despite Belfast Harlequins’ Taggart claiming the only try for Ireland it was another case of poor representation for the province with Taggart only getting 28 minutes on the pitch and Queen’s David Busby only involved for 2 minutes at the end of the game – giving the Ulster youngsters a meagre 2.5% of game time for the second week running.
2014 U20 Six Nations Final League Table