The U18 Tri-Nations Festival kicked off yesterday at Ashbourne RFC in Dublin, with Ireland U18 A hosting France U18 Poles Espoires.
Ireland put in a brave performance, but their French counterparts came on top, winning 23-10.
A relatively even opening spell turned France’s way on 11 minutes with Bordeaux’s Martin Piot collecting a Hugo Barada offload to dive home underneath the sticks, giving Jules Gimbert a simple conversion for 7-0.
Ireland got themselves on the scoresheet shortly after through a David McCarthy penalty. France were back on the scoresheet quickly though, with Gimbert landing a penalty of his own to put his side back ahead by seven points at 10-7.
With half time approaching, Ireland stepped on the gas, with O’Dea collecting a lineout and setting up a powerful maul, from which blindside Jack O’Sullivan powered his way over. McCarthy landed the conversion, sending the sides into the half time break at 10-10.
That was to be it for Ireland on the scoring front though, but France were just getting started. Setting up a maul of their own early in the second half as their own William Van Bost surged over to make it 15-10.
Gimbert missed the conversion but was quickly back in his rhythm with a penalty. That 18-10 scoreline was to remain for much of the rest of the half, but a late try for Simon Soulier sealed a 23-10 victory for the visitors.
The U18 Tri-Nations continues on Wednesday with England Counties U18 taking on France U18 Poles Espoires, before Ireland play their second game of the series, against England Counties U18 on Saturday 2nd April.
Full Time: Ireland U18 A 10-23 France U18 Poles Espoires
Ireland U18 A
15 Michael Sylvester (Clongowes Wood College)
14 Thomas O’Callaghan (CBC Monkstown)
13 Corey Reid (Buccaneers RFC/Marist College Athlone)
12 David McCarthy (Skibbereen RFC)
11 Conor Phillips (Crescent Comprehensive College)
10 Peter Sylvester (Presentation Brothers Cork)
9 Rhys O’Donnell (RBAI)
1 Cathal Duff (Clongowes Wood College)
2 Diarmuid Barron (Rockwell College)
3 Paul Mullan (Armagh RFC)
4 Jack Dunne (St. Michael’s College)
5 JJ O’Dea (Navan RFC)
6 Jack O’Sullivan (Presentation Brothers Cork)
7 Jack Daly (Castleisland RFC)
8 Andrew Murphy (Blackrock College) (capt).
Replacements used: Alex Crocker (Henley College/Exiles) for O’Donnell (40 mins), Aaron Browne (Cistercian College Roscrea) for Dunne, Jonjo Fanning (Bugbrooke RFC/Exiles) for Daly (both 45), Stephen McLoughlin (Blackrock College) for Barron, Fergus O’Brien (Whitgift School/Exiles) for Duff (both 60), Conor Dunne (Tullamore RFC) for Reid (61), Sam Dardis (Terenure College) for M Sylvester, Bruce Houston (Ballymena Academy) for P Sylvester (both 67). Not used: Evin Coyle (Gonzaga College).
France U18 Poles Espoires
15 Leo Berden (Toulon)
14 Maxime Marty (Toulouse)
13 Hugo Barada (Bayonne)
12 Martin Piot (Bordeaux)
11 Zani Dembele (Forbach)
10 Luigi Tarozzi (Agen)
9 Jules Gimbert (Bordeaux)
1 Alexandre Betti (Beziers)
2 Lucas Peyreblanques (Bayonne)
3 Demba Bamba (Brive)
4 Alexandre Coing (Grenoble)
5 Antoine Gaget (Bourgoin)
6 William van Bost (Toulon)
7 Dorian Clerc (Castres Olympique)
8 Remi Lerdux (Yvetot).
Replacements: Theo Papalia (Toulon), Joffrey Pienkowski (Montpellier), Georgs Henri Collombe (Racing Paris), Angelo Caldarulo (Touraine), Simon Soulier (Clermont Auvergne), Xan Etcheverry (Biarritz), Loic Mioche (La Rochelle), Charly Bartoletti (Bourgoin), Lucas Dubois (Perpignan).