Ireland 31 France 29
Ireland are U20 Six Nations with 1 game to spare after a 2 point victory over France at a sold out Irish Independent Park. They will now travel to Wales next week seeking a Grand Slam and Triple Crown.
It was Ireland’s first Six Nations title since 2010, Noel McNamara’s young guns made it four wins on the bounce taking advantage of the Welsh loss also this evening. They lost to the Scots 27-20. It was a very exciting game Josh Wycherley put in a solid man of the match performance going over for two tries, Callum Reid a second half substitute also scored a try, Ben Healy at fly half finished with a personal haul of 16 points also. French number 10 Louis Carbonel scored two tries for Les Bleus and kicked 9 points.
The opening score came after just four minutes when Ireland fly half Healy kicked a penalty after some good work by Charlie Ryan and John Hodnett. France had a chance to go for goal from a penalty soon after, but they opted to kick to corner, the ball was knocked on however. Then came the first try as they game intensified with pace and speed, full back Jake Flannery with a delay pass, sent Sean French clear up to the opposition 22, the forwards continued the hard work from there which allowed Wycherley to go under the posts. It was 10-0 but the French responded in quick fashion.
Carbonel broke the line and linked up with Jordan Joseph who was tap tackled, he managed to get the ball off though to a supporting loosehead Gros who went over the line. Carbonel converted minutes later. Johnny Wren showed sparkling twinkle toes up the left touchline, but it was France who struck again as Carbonel found de Nardi on the touchline before taking a return pass from him to run in a try which was converted. 14-10 lead for the visitors. Healy kicked a penalty after a French infringement in a ruck, to cut the gap to the minimum. It stayed that way at half time.
On the resumption, Healy kicked a close range penalty to give Ireland the lead. However, France responded after a mistake from Leinster man Scott Penny, Carbonel added the three points. Healy hit back to make it 19-17 though, as players like Casey, Ryan Baird and Dylan Tierney Martin drove on the side. It was 26-17 by 60 minutes with Wycherley crossing for his second try. It came from a French mistake by Arthur Vincent who threw a forward pass, Healy worked the scrum quite well, while the forwards keep the scrum moving, Wycherley got on the end of the ruck to cross over. Healy kicked the conversion and Ireland led by the nine points. Carbonel was superb though , he got a try minutes later for his side.
The Irish side were never going to give in. Healy and Casey to the fore as they brought the champions back over the whitewash. This time it was Reid that drove over the line in a similar try to that of the previous Ireland try. The conversion hit the post. The clock was ticking but France had another try on the board as Viallard crossed over. Carbonel made it a two point game but it was to little to late as Ireland will go to Wales next week looking for the Grand Slam title.