RUGBY LEAGUE IRELAND: Late French Rally Slays Irish: Ireland I XV 16-34 France I XV

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Ireland fell to their third defeat of the Autumn International series despite their best performance of the season when France rallied late to secure a 34-16 victory in Thomond Park.

In what was the first ever rugby league international in Thomond Park a record number of spectators were in attendance to see Irish wing Joe Taylor scoring a hat trick.

Mark Aston’s men got off to a flying start when a kick from Paul Handforth forced a goalline drop out which led to a sweeping back move down Ireland’s right with Greg McNally supplying the final ball to the Laois native.

France looked to bounce back and a thundering run from Jamal Fakir saw him go twenty yards but in the end his handling let him down as he lost possession over the line.

They did draw level on the next play when Kane Bentley squeezed between two defenders to touch down. Dane Chisholm added the conversion to put his side in front.

The visitors were inspired following this score and held onto the large share of possession but the Wolfhounds defence held strong and began to frustrate the French.

As a result of their defence Ireland went back on the attack and after a break from Tyrone McCarthy Joe Taylor bagged his first ever international try in the corner.

France again broke through this time with Mickael Simon making yards but again a knock on ended their assault on the Irish line.

The errors proved costly for Bobby Goulding’s men as three times they knocked on with the try line begging.

Ireland were happy at the break as they went in with a two point lead ahead of a side they had never beaten before.

A dream start followed in the second half when Liam Finn chipped into the corner for Taylor who rose above his opposing winger to gather and score in the corner.

Elima then dropped the ball over the line. It would be the fourth time in the game France had lost possession with the line at their mercy.

However, with 66 minutes on the clock Elima made amends when he touched down to bring his side to within two points of the hosts.

France then took the lead when Bentley crashed over for his second of the game. Bosc added the conversion to put them 16-12 up.

The with 15 minutes left France extended the lead when Greg McNally misjudged the bounce of the ball and Bosc pounced to touch down. He added the conversion n to put France ten points ahead.

Elima then rubbed salt in the wounds with his second of the day leaving the score at 28-12 to France following Bosc’s conversion.

Ireland did their best to get back into the game but France’s big forward’s made it difficult for the hosts to get on the front foot.

And with five minutes to go Bentley grabbed his hat trick again breaking around the ruck to crash over from close range. This made the score line 34-12 which if you were being fair was flattering to the French.

Then with seconds left Taylor had the last laugh with a hat trick of his own to make the score 34-16.

This would be the last action of the game as the referee Richard Silverwood called an end to proceedings.

It was a tough loss for Ireland in the end after leading for sixty five minutes before the French rallied.

Ireland: Greg McNally, Tim Bergin, Ian Cross, Elliot Cosgrove, Joe Taylor, Paul Handforth, Liam Finn, Kyle Amor, Bob Beswick, Luke Ambler, Tyrone McCarthy, Ged Corcoran, Callum Casey Interchange: Pat Smith, Paddy Barcoe, James Haley, Aaron McCloskey

France: Cyril Stacul, Vincent Duport, Mathias Pala, Jean-Philippe Baille, Frederic Vaccari, Dane Chisholm, Thomas Bosc, Jamal Fakir, Kane Bentley, Remi Casty, Olivier Elima, Cyrille Gossard, Jason Baitieri Interchange: Eloi Pelissier, Mickael Simon, Damien Cardace, Teddy Sadaoui

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Attendance: 3,100

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