France U-20s 16-17 Ireland U-20s
A try at the death from Ben Brownlee and the subsequent conversion from Charlie Tector gave Ireland a narrow victory over France in their Six Nations U-20s clash in Aix-en-Provence.
It wasn't until the final kick of the match came from Tector's boot that Ireland led, having trailed France throughout, but they were full value for the victory as they showed grit, determination and discipline.
France kicked their way to an early lead as the boot of Max Auriac opened the scoring after fives minutes when he found his mark with a penalty following an Irish offside.
Ireland, who had not won in France since 2012, responded well and eschewed several kicks at goal of their own, opting to go for the lineout instead.
The Irish maul was a potent weapon but while they were able to get it motoring from lineouts, the French defence was able to rebuff them just when it most counted.
It was from a lineout that Ireland thought they scored the game's first try on 15 minutes but the TMO had spotted an obstruction by skipper Reuben Crothers and the score was chalked off.
France then crossed the whitewash and this one did count.
Les Bleus set up the play by bundling Patrick Campbell into touch. They went to the maul from the lineout and moved the ball at pace before Victor Montgaillard collected an offload to touch down. Auriac added the extras with the minimum of fuss.
All of a sudden the game looked to be in danger of getting away from Ireland but they were quickly back in it thanks to a James McCormick try. Again it came from a lineout maul and Ireland showed both patience and discipline in the face of stout French defending, picking and going to keep the ball alive before McCormick spotted the gap to dive over.
Tector's conversion was the final score of the half.
France came out after the break as if they had a point to prove and an Auriac penalty five minutes in extended their lead to 13-7.
Tector replied in kind for Ireland shortly after but almost straight from that kick-off, Ireland were again penalised for offside and Auriac’s kick was good enough to restore the six-point gap.
From there, France looked to put the game to bed, piling all kinds of pressure on the Irish defence which, while it buckled at times, never broke, and as the game entered the dying moment it was Ireland on the attack.
A series of repeat infringements from the French defence saw Samuel M'foudi yellow carded with four minutes to go and that was all the invitation Ireland needed.
The visitors laid siege to the French try-line but just when it looks like France might hold them out, with the clocked poised to tick into the red, Ireland struck. Mathew Devine picked up the ball and pinged out a ranging pass back to Ben Brownlee, who held off a defender and touched down to wild celebrations.
The clock had ticked past the 80-minute mark as Tector lined up his kick and he held his nerve to drill the ball over and give Ireland a famous victory.