Charlie Tector showed nerves of Wexford steel as he slotted home a late, highly pressurised injury-time match-winning conversion as Ireland battled to a tremendous victory in France on Friday night…
It was indeed a magic win for the U-20’s in a crazily partisan atmosphere in Aix-en-Provence deep in the south of France. Every one of them stood up to the test in a match that was not for the faint-hearted. Our own main man, Charlie Tector, put in a splendid performance; he was confidently directing Ireland around the pitch, slotting his goals, and putting in the hard graft when needed.
The young Wexfordian started off well, again being very vocal from the off organising what plays he wanted off the forwards or scrum-half and directed proceedings accordingly as every good out half should. Ireland trailed behind early on with Charlie deciding on long restarts to try a pin Le Blues into a corner.
Tector was showing some nice glimpses of his class with a nice half break something of which he is well capable of given his size. This was followed up by a nice relieving kick to touch and soon after a lovely defensive catch and instant humungous Garryowen.
A penalty punt into touch led to Irish pressure deep into the French 22 which yielded a fine forwards try and a very kickable conversion which the Lansdowne man slotted easily. This clawed the French lead back to 10-7.
Again, the Rathnure man was attacking the home team’s defence with menace before shifting the ball to his centre’s, a great trait for any 10. He was really mixing it now in this bearpit of a stadium.
A fantastic kick for the halfway line deep into the French 22 by Tector piled on the pressure. Unfortunately, the home team got out of trouble, and now it was time for Charlie to mop up a slick French kick by tracking back swiftly under pressure.
The second half restart again saw the Wexfordian drop kick long to try and force the home team into a mistake. Another nice penalty kick into touch and a good strong run by the 10 led to some advanced field position for Ireland u-20’s.
Shortly after, a great penalty punt to touch led to a penalty goal attempt which he drilled home. Tector then made a massive clearance downfield kicking from his own 5-metre line right up to almost the halfway line. This gave his forwards a fantastic boost and a spring in their steps upfield.
We’ll forgive him for trying to pull off a cheeky chip and then missed tackle because what was about to unfold was a recovery act by Ireland that Lazarus would have been proud of.
It had seemed the win was going to elude the boys in green as they faced a 6 point deficit going into the dying embers of the match. Charlie kicked a beauty of a penalty into touch, but shortly after, he miss cued another. Thankfully, the local scrum-half spared his blushes with a clearance resulting in an Irish lineout 22 metres out.
French indiscipline led to Ireland punting into the corner. They then would use their physical pack to pummel the French line. This led to a French forward being sin-binned and after more pressure from the big boys up front, a fizzing pass from Matthew Devine let centre Ben Brownlee storm over for a crucial try.
The score was now 16-15 France and thus the conversion had to be successful for an Irish win. Up stepped the cool Rathnure lad to take on the mantle of the most important of important conversions. Under intense pressure, in injury time, with opposition players hurtling towards him to try and block the attempt down and the local crowd screaming and shouting in his ears, Monsieur Tector struck home a beautifully relaxed conversion to pickpocket the win from their Gallic rivals.
It was an incredible moment for the young Wexfordian and it will be something that will live long in his memory.
Wexford’s Charlie Tector was deservedly mobbed by the Irish boys and celebrations had kicked off in style. It’s a night to remember for those young heroes in Green.
By Byron Jones
Featured Image: Leinster Rugby (Twitter)
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