venue: Plaisance du Touch, Haute-Garonne
25th November 2011
Full Match Report
France U18 exacted revenge for their U19 compatriots in beating the AIS 35-32 in Plaisance-du-Touch in south-western France. Coach Christophe Toustou’s young charges, including some of France’s brightest prospects for years in halfback Arthur Gonzales-Trique, Lezignan back row Charles Bouzinac and St Esteve hooker Joan Guasch, took a commanding 26-16 lead before edging a nail-biting finish.
French imagination prevailed against Australian size, but it was the boot of Guasch that proved the difference, with the captain’s four conversions and three penalties ultimately proving decisive. Fullback Valentin Ferret and ball-playing second row Hakim Miloudi were to the fore, the latter’s second minute opener belying the tense struggle that ensued, while his second on 32 minutes gave Les Bleus an advantage that perhaps flattered to deceive.
The Australians made inroads down the middle in the second half, but France were the first to score again, giving them a 32-16 lead. With seventeen minutes left, however, the scores were locked up at 32-32. Toulouse centre Yoann Didone edged France ahead with a 67th minute drop-goal before Guasch added the final points of a gripping match, kicking a 71st minute penalty.
Valentin Ferret - Yanis Remok, Yoann Didone, Hugo Perez, Sofiane Ghanem - (o) Arthur Gonzales-Trique, (m) Joris Bissière - Gadwin Springer, Joan Guasch (c), Mickaël Rouch - Hakim Miloudi, Charles Bouzinac - Martial Romano. Subs: Escamillas, Alexandre Labarchède, Yussuf Cal, Alexis Meresta-Doucet
AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT
T. Clarke - Rigg, Elliott, Aitkin, Watson - (o) J. Clarke, (m) D. Clarke (cap.) - Saunders, Harris, Johnson - Smith, Lee - Cartwright. Subs: Nikurima, Jensen, McLennan, Falepaini