France and Scotland boost World Cup preparations with wins

France defeated Ireland and Scotland got the better of Italy in World Cup warm-up games

Ireland's preparations for the World Cup took another turn for the worse at the Aviva Stadium yesterday when France consigned them to a third successive defeat with a 26-22 success.

An eighth-minute try from prop Cian Healy - who later had to be helped from the pitch due to injury - and five points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton saw them race ahead in a dominant first quarter of play.

But France scored 26 unanswered points through tries from Cedric Heymans and Francois Trinh-Duc, who also landed a huge drop-goal from near the halfway line, and the flawless kicking of Morgan Parra.

When Sexton and Sean O'Brien dived over for late tries, Les Bleus were already beyond reach as they claimed an 11th victory against Ireland in 12 meetings dating back to 2003.

Ireland now have only next Saturday's game with England to improve their confidence before they head to New Zealand for the World Cup next month.

Meanwhile, Scotland gave their own preparations a boost as they comfortably got the better of Italy 23-12 at Murrayfield yesterday.

Alasdair Dickinson scored his first Test try following Max Evans' mazy run after 10 minutes as Scotland made a promising start ahead of Monday's 30-man World Cup squad announcement.

But Italy responded after 24 minutes with a score from Tommaso Benvenuti, converted by Mirco Bergamasco. Dan Parks, who finished with 13 points, kept Scotland in front with his boot, before Italy scored a second try early in the second half through Fabio Sementazo to cut the deficit.

However, Mike Blair claimed an opportunists score early in the second half and Scotland held on for victory marred by a knee injury to Nikki Walker which saw the replacement wing taken off with three minutes remaining.

* Press Association

Published: August 21, 2011 04:00 AM