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

News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star