Second half dominance lead France U20 to 26-24 win over Ireland

France U20 26-24 Ireland U20, Perpignan

A dominating second-half performance from France proved enough as they edged out Ireland 26-24 in their World Rugby U20 Championship opener in Perpignan on Wednesday.

Maxime Marty was the hero for the host as he scored twice and was denied a third by TMO. Even though he opened their account with a fifth-minute try, France went on to concede 17 unanswered points to their fellow Europeans.

Joe Dunleavy dotted down in the 21st minute while Hugh O'Sullivan also scored at the stroke of half-time and fly-half Harry Byrne also kicked both the conversions and a penalty.

The second try came despite Ireland were one man down when Jack Aungier was sin-binned for a high tackle on French outhalf Romain Ntamack. The teams headed into the break with Ireland having a 5-17 lead.

France looked a completely different unit in the second half as they scored three tries in a span of 10 minutes. Arthur Coville (43'), Ntamack (45') and Marty (51') all managed to get their names in the try-scoring sheet. Ntamack also kicked all the three conversions as the home side took a nine-point lead.

With all the three results possible heading into the final 10 minutes, Harry Byrne's converted try gave Ireland hope but they could not quite get across the line as they succumbed to a two-point defeat.