FRANCE 19 IRELAND 13
Ireland Under-20s fell agonisingly short of defeating Grand Slam champions France in their opening IRB Junior World Championship match in Auckland, going down 19-13 to their Pool B rivals.
Mike Ruddock’s youngsters put their injuries woes and a French-dominated first half behind them to seize control of the game during the third quarter.
However, they were unable to force their way over for a potentially decisive converted try and France held on with two Brandon Fajardo drop goals proving the difference between the sides.
It means Ireland, who did pick up a losing bonus point, must defeat Wales, who top the group, and Fiji if they are to have any chance of making the main knockout stages.
Ireland play Wales, who lost in the final last year to England, on Friday.
Elsewhere, New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia also secured big wins to put them in strong positions to make the semi-finals.