Ireland and France conspired to produce a classic on Day 3 of the Wheelchair Rugby Six Nations Championship with France claiming the honours 26 – 19.
Ireland were desperate to get their campaign back on track after yesterdays one point loss to Italy and it looked like they had got of to a perfect start only to have a try disallowed for diving over the line.
France got their game going and used slick hands to create an overlap for the opening score which was converted for a 7 – 0 lead. Ireland responded with some slick play of their own and the pressure led to two quick penalties to take the score to 7 – 6 before the home side closed out the half with a penalty of their own taking the score to 10 – 6 at the break.
With Ireland captain James McCarthy excelling in his new position at hooker the Irish scrum continued to dominate but France weathered the storm and showed their class with a pressure relieving penalty.
Ireland responded with a golden period sparked by a penalty from their dominant scrum. From the resultant play Will Thornton finished off a slick move to go over for a super converted try which he followed up with a monster penalty from the half way line to take the score to France 10 Ireland 16.
However the experienced French side hit back with 16 points of their own to take a ten point lead before Irish scrum half Raisa Carolan was taken out after the whistle with the French winger receiving a yellow card. The nugget of a scrum half was able to continue after treatment taking to the pitch to an amazing show of appreciation from the home crowd and Ireland closed the gap to seven points from the resultant penalty.
Unfortunately the Irish couldn’t make the extra player count . Paddy Forbes went over for what appeared to be an equalising score only for the play to be called back for an infringement in the maul and with that call went Ireland’s chance for glory with teh game ending France 26 Ireland 19.
It was a huge effort from Ireland, who have only been together since April, considering teh French have been together for a number of years with the game being called the greatest wheelchair 7s game ever.
The Irish and French competitors embraced after the game and the respect was there for all up see. An emotional captain McCarthy was immensely proud of his teams efforts calling it one of the great Irish displays he has seen in any sport, playing as a true Irish team.
In the other matches played on Day 3 Wales beat Scotland 15 – 0 and England lost to Italy 37 – 25 results which leave France at the top of the championship.
Tomorrow Ireland face England in Thiers with the English looking for the triple crown. However a victory for the Irish will see them face their own Triple Crown match against Scotland on the final day of the tournament. (Match kicks off tomorrow at 17:00 local time, 16:00 UK/IRE.)
Ireland Six Nations Squad: Nicky Hamill (Manager), Lisa Kelly (Coach), Will Thornton (Asst. Coach), Pat O’Neill, Graham Merrigan, Paddy Forbes, Bill Byrne, Raisa Carolan, Kenneth Caulfield, Padraic Hayes, Derek Murphy, James McCarthy (C).
|Tuesday 18th June||Moulins||France||23 – 18||Italy|
|Ireland||60 – 0||Wales|
|England||14 – 0||Scotland|
|Wednesday 19th June||Montlucon||France||75 – 6||Scotland|
|England||47 – 10||Wales|
|Italy||11 – 10||Ireland|
|Thursday 20th June||Randan||Scotland||0 – 15||Wales|
|France||26 – 19||Ireland|
|Italy||37 – 25||England|
|Friday 21st June||Thiers||France||v||Wales|
|Saturday 22 June||Moulins||Scotland||v||Ireland|
For more information please see Tournoi Six Nations Fauteuil page on Facebook, plus of course we’ll be bringing you regualr updates on The Front Row Union.