14 December 2019

Rugby: England Women undone by France in Marseille

November 3, 2011

England Women had to settle for second best against France (France 14 England 5) in an uncapped friendly match in Marseille on Wednesday evening.

At a rain soaked Jean Bouin Stadium the England team, which contained five uncapped players in the starting line-up and two on the bench, crossed for one try but France took the honours with one converted try and a penalty try.

The conditions took their toll on the match with both sides struggling to find any firm footing and ball handling was tricky in the slippery conditions. The score was therefore telling in the first half with both sides going into the break 0-0.

After the restart though England asserted their authority and started to dominate territory and their efforts were rewarded with Lydia Thompson going over for a try.

England’s efforts were undone though with France taking their first try on 63 minutes and then they made the most of the sin-binning of Kay Wilson in the dying stages to add a penalty try.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: “This game provided us with the opportunity to find out a lot about our new, young players. We always knew it was going to be a tough game with so little preparation time and such a young squad. The difficult pitch conditions didn’t help either but that was the same for both sides and to be honest France deserved to win this game.

“We now go into Saturday’s capped test match with a lot more information about our players and we have the luxury of having a couple of days on our side before being able to pick our strongest team that we have available.”

Kicking off in torrential rain, and on a rain soaked pitch, both France and England struggled to find any rhythm initially. England, however, were the side under pressure though with France generally having much of the territory for the first half.

France came close to scoring after 12 minutes with fullback Jessy Tremouliere executing a good chip deep into England’s 22 but Ceri Large covered to keep England level pegging.

England too had their chances with captain Sarah Hunter at the heart of the action, while Michaela Staniford and Kim Oliver were also in the thick of it, but the visitors could not make any serious impression on the scoreboard.

Street rang the changes for England at half time with six changes which meant all of England’s uncapped players got their first taste of senior international rugby.

After the break France came close to breaking the duck with wing Dsioni Aguerre making a nice break on the left wing and crossing, but the score was disallowed.

England, however, came back fighting and some good work by scrum half Rose Jay at a French scrum saw her put her opposite number under pressure and Harriet Millar-Mills picked up to get the ball out to England’s backs. England couldn’t break through France’s strong defence so they recycled the ball out to the left wing, where French numbers were low, and Thompson was clear to break through and score. Large, however, couldn’t make the conversion.

On 49 minutes France had their chance to hit back with a penalty but fly half Aurelie Bailon missed. It did not matter though with lock Assa Koita making up the difference and more with an important try for France thanks to a well worked line out, catch and drive. With Tremouliere converting France took the lead 7-5.

Matters worsen for England four minutes later when France chipped ahead a loose ball deep into England’s 22. Fullback Wilson scrambled back to try and save the score but she was penalised for it and sent to the sin-bin. France had the one man advantage and made the most of it with some strong line outs and scrums near to England’s try line immediately after. In the end England were penalised for constant infringements as France battered England’s try line. They were duly awarded a penalty try which Tremouliere converted to hand France a more healthy lead and eventually the victory.

RFU report
Sportsister, The Women’s Sports Magazine

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Rugby: England's Women miss out by the narrowest of margins in France - Sportsister - The Women's Sports Magazine | Sportsister

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