France 19-12 Ireland

Irish centre Paddy Wallace is tackled by David Skrela in Bordeaux
Irish centre Paddy Wallace is tackled by David Skrela in Bordeaux

France withstood an Irish fightback to secure a deserved World Cup warm-up victory in Bordeaux on Saturday night.

The French dominated the first half and Vincent Clerc's try and two Dimitri Yachvili penalties helped the hosts to a 13-3 lead at the break.

Ireland hit back early in the second half and three penalties from Ronan O'Gara took them to within a point.

O'Gara missed with another penalty attempt before Yachvili fired over two penalties to ensure a French victory.

France were superior from the start in every aspect of the game as the Irish wilted in the heat and high humidity.

Yachvili fired over a fourth-minute penalty as the hosts made their early pressure count although Damien Traille sliced a drop-goal attempt wide from close range.

The French went over for the only try on 17 minutes, Clerc collecting an excellent lay-off from Alexis Pailsson before darting over.

Yachvilli added the extras and the scrum-half went on to convert an impressive second penalty from wide.

Ronan O'Gara kicks over a second-half penalty against France
Ronan O'Gara kicks over a second-half penalty against France

A lethargic Ireland failed to muster any attacking threat and continually gifted possession to the French.

At least the Irish finished the first half on a high thanks to an O'Gara penalty after what was a rare venture into the opposition half.

Ireland were a transformed team at the restart, with a new-found urgency in their play and stronger in the tackle.

For the first time Ireland were pushing the French back and the introduction of Munster lock Paul O'Connell provided added impetus.

The pressure resulted in a succession of Irish penalties, with O'Gara impressively coverting three before missing out with a fourth.

Ireland were now just a point adrift but the French regained control thanks to two Yachvili penalties.

The Irish pressed in the final minutes but squandered a five-metre scrum and a line-out close to the French line.

The sides meet again at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin next weekend in another World Cup warm-up game.

France: Traille, Clerc, Marty, Mermoz, Palisson, Trinh-Duc, Yachvili, Marconnet, Szarzewski, Ducalcon, Pierre, Millo-Chluski, Dusautoir, Harinordoquy, Lakafia.

Replacements: Medard for Traille (64), Skrela for Mermoz (26), Parra for Yachvili (77), Poux for Marconnet (54), Guirado for Szarzewski (54), Nallet for Millo-Chluski (58), Bonnaire for Harinordoquy (64).

Ireland: Kearney, Trimble, Earls, P. Wallace, Fitzgerald, O'Gara, Reddan, Healy, Best, Ross, O'Callaghan, Cullen, Ryan, O'Brien, Leamy.

Replacements: Jones for Kearney (46), McFadden for Trimble (67), Murray for Reddan (60), Flannery for Best (60). Not used: Buckley, Heaslip.

Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU)

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