Clerc's try helps France deal Irish second defeat

France 19 Ireland 12

Ireland's preparations for the World Cup were marred by a second successive warm-up defeat, but they could at least take comfort from a spirited display. Ronan O'Gara, who kicked four penalties, led a second-half fightback with some superb tactical kicking but France – who were outstanding in the first half – had done enough. The winger Vincent Clerc scored his ninth try in nine games against Ireland and the scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili kicked 14 points.

Ireland returned to the setting of their disastrous 2007 World Cup for the toughest of their four warm-up Tests – having lost 10-6 to Scotland at Murrayfield last week, they will now face France again and then England at home.

Declan Kidney's team for this match showed eight changes, among them O'Gara starting at fly-half in place of Jonny Sexton and Donncha O'Callaghan coming into the second row. Another Munster lock, Paul O'Connell, was selected with the Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip on the bench as Ireland sought a second win in France since 1972.

Les Bleus – playing the first of only two warm-up games – made an ominous start, using a mixture of power and guile to ease into the Irish 22. Yachvili rifled over a penalty and shortly after that Sean O'Brien and Rory Best were smashed backwards. The hit on Best resulted in a turnover and France reacted in a flash,Maxime Mermoz chipping ahead only for full-back Rob Kearney to catch Clerc five metres out.

It was "fingers in the dam" stuff for Ireland, as Andrew Trimble executed a try-saving tackle on the fly-half François Trinh-Duc, and it was only a matter of time before the away side's line cracked. France's try came in the 18th minute. Scrambling in defence, Ireland failed to stop Alexis Palisson slipping the ball out of the tackle to Clerc, who raced over. Yachvili converted.

O'Brien, Ireland's most destructive ball-carrier, bulldozed his way into space but the respite was brief. France played as if they were on the training ground as they clicked through the gears, finding space at will. Flanker Imanol Harinordoquy was highly conspicuous, charging strongly and offloading deftly. Yachvili kicked his second penalty for 13-0 as Ireland continued to fall foul of referee Steve Walsh. When they did win a penalty, O'Gara produced a poor touch-finder. Keith Earls then ended his team's best attacking move by sending a pass straight into touch.

Ireland looked rattled and their attempts to build momentum lacked conviction against such aggressive defence. It was with some relief that O'Gara kicked a penalty to end a torrid half.

France started the second half with a bulldozing run by debutant No 8 Raphaël Lakafia, before Ireland exploded into life. Trimble, impressive again, found a gap and offloaded to Kearney. The Lions full-back raced 30 metres before running out of space and becoming isolated but the move finished with an O'Gara penalty to give some reward and keep Ireland in the game.

O'Connell was brought on, to a loud cheer from the travelling support, and he was soon joined by most of the Irish bench. The substitutions – Marc Lièvremont also used his replacements – took the urgency out of the game, but it was France who became ragged. Two O'Gara penalties followed and Ireland were in contention.

Yachvili, however, gave France breathing space with two penalties and they were back on their game after a poor 30 minutes. The match had regained its edge too, as both sides ran hard at each other. Keith Earls almost slipped in at the right corner and it was France who were under pressure in the final stages.

"We know what we have to do in the next match. You can't play for just one half," said Kidney. "The French know how to dominate and defend well, plus they scored a try. It is a winning combination in rugby."

France D Traille (Biarritz); V Clerc (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), M Mermoz (Toulouse), A Palisson (Brive); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); S Marconnet (Biarritz), D Szarzewski (Stade Français), L Ducalcon (Castres), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), R Millo-Chlusky, T Dusautoir (capt, both Toulouse), R Lakafia, I Harinordoquy (both Biarritz). Replacements D Skrela (Toulouse) for Mermoz, 26; JB Poux (Toulouse) for Marconnet, 54; G Guirado (Perpignan) for Szarzewski, 54; L Nallet (Racing Metro) for Millo-Chlusky, 58; J Bonnaire (Clermont) for Harinordoquy, 64; M Médard (Toulouse) for Traille, 64; M Parra (Clermont) for Yachvili, 77.

Ireland R Kearney (Leinster); A Trimble (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster), L Fitzgerald (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster, capt), D Ryan, D Leamy (both Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster). Replacements F Jones (Munster) for Kearney, 46; J Heaslip (Leinster) for Leamy, 50; P O'Connell (Munster) for Cullen, 50; T Buckley (Sale) for Healy, 51; C Murray (Leinster) for Reddan, 60; J Flannery (Munster) for Best, 60; F McFadden (Leinster) for Trimble, 67; Healy for Ross, 69.

Referee S Walsh (Australia).

France

Try: Clerc

Con: Yachvili

Pens: Yachvili 4

Ireland

Pens: O'Gara 4

Voices
voicesExclusive: Pete Doherty on drugs and his demons
Sport
footballLIVE: All the latest from today's late game at the Emirates
News
newsNew images splice vintage WWII photos with modern-day setting
Sport
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines