European Cup

Date published: Monday, October 11, 2010

JOHN Gillam celebrated his international debut for Ireland with two tries in the Irish side’s 58-24 defeat by France in Avignon on Saturday, watched by a superb crowd of 14,522.

Kicking off the 2010 Alitalia European Cup, Bobbie Goulding’s French team got off to a superb start with a comprehensive win by a Les Blues outfit which included Valu Bentley’s two brothers, Kane and Andrew.

Gregg McNally played full-back for Ireland, with Gillam on the left wing and with both Wayne Kerr and Matty Ashe on the bench, Matty also making his debut in the full Irish senior side.

With the Irish trailing 24-6 Ashe was introduced off the bench and he made an immediate impact with a superb 40-20 which led directly to Gillam’s first try in international rugby.

With ten minutes left Ireland got their first score of the second half when Gillam crossed for his second try to end a period in which the Irish either conceded penalties or made handling mistakes to give France a huge advantage in possession and field position.

Ireland trailed only 24-14 at half-time but the game went away from them in the second half, largely because they made far too many errors in possession.

The Irish scored five tries by Gillam (2), McNally, Sean Hesketh and Jamie O’Callagan, with McNally and Liam Finn each landing one goal.

Ireland’s next test is another tough one against Wales in Neath next Sunday, Iestyn Harris’s Welsh side having also got off to a flier with a 60-22 win against Scotland in Glasgow.