France retain U18 crown

(IRB.COM) Sunday 23 March 2008
 France retain U18 crown
France edged out Ireland for the second successive year Photo: Miriam May

France are the FIRA-AER under 18 champions for the second year in a row after a hardfought 12-5 win over Ireland at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, Italy.

France number 8 Kevin Gourdon’s try after 24 minutes was the only score of a tense first half before second row Romain Taofifenua crossed six minutes into the second half to double France’s lead to 10-0. Gilles Bosch kicked the conversion to extend the defending champions’ lead to 12-0.

But Ireland, who also lost to France 12 months ago in the final, upped the tempo and were rewarded with Dominic Gallagher’s try after 67 minutes.

Ireland dominated the closing minutes, but the French defence held firm to claim the title once again.

England claimed third place overall after defeating Italy 21-5 whilst Romania edged out Georgia 6-5 in Villorba to secure fifth.

Spain and Belgium swap places

Spain’s 12-7 defeat to Russia in the Group A seventh place playoff means that they are relegated to Group B for the 2009 tournament. Their place in Group A will be taken by Belgium, who recorded an impressive 39-0 victory over Poland in the Group B final.

The Czech Republic will play in Group C next year after they lost their final Group B match 29-26 against Lithuania. Switzerland move up to Group B after defeating Hungary 20-0 in the Group C final.

Israel were relegated from Group C after losing 25-7 to Denmark. Serbia move up form Group D following their 41-7 win over Luxembourg.

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