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

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Life and Style
Stepping back in time: The Robshaws endured the privations of the 1950s
food + drinkNew BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain
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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?