The French had led 23-10 in the final 15 minutes, but the Red Roses made a remarkable comeback to ensure they end 2020 with seven wins in seven tests – and extend their winning streak to ten internationals for over ‘a year.
It is also England’s seventh consecutive victory against France, their closest European rival that they will also play at the 2021 World Cup having both been drawn in Pool C.
This performance was far from the convincing England showed by winning the Six Nations Grand Slam or even beating France 33-10 last weekend, but the team showed courage and determination to come back and triumph.
France put England under enormous pressure on the first-half free kick, a penalty for visitors from a second-minute scrum is a sign of things to come. The Red Roses’ error count was also extremely high, with fallout and loose passes preventing them from building through phases.
England however scored the first try, Zoe Harrison passing in the 17th minute after a fortuitous bounce of the ball …
This gave England a 5-3 lead but the French scored two tries before the break.
The first came five minutes after the hosts’ try, a knockdown from England to a lineout five yards from their own line giving possession to France. France shifted their attack to the blind side, creating an overlap for Emeline Gros, who put Katy Daley-Mclean back.
It was their second try, just before the half-time whistle, which was the highlight of the opening 40. France launched an attack from inside their half on a kick. Daley-Mclean’s foot, Shannon Izar receiving the ball in midfield. , taking off and then performing a switch inside Cyrielle Banet, who freed herself and passed despite Ellie Kildunne’s tackle.
Banet was then sentenced early in the second period for using her boot on Vickii Cornborough’s shoulder. The referee would initially give the wing a red card before acknowledging Cornborough’s mitigation holding Banet’s leg to keep it in the breakdown.
From that penalty, England went for a five-yard line-out and on the third attempt (they received two more maul breach penalties) they crossed the line with Lark Davies landing for the try.
Still, after England could not count five minutes of possession, French defense coach Simon Middleton opted to clear his bench midway through the second half, with all eight substitutes coming into play. same time.
Then Banet knocked again. France rolled their maul from a lineout on the 22nd, advanced and crossed the pitch with a series of strong carries before Banet passed around the corner. France had a 23-10 lead in the final 15 minutes and seemed to have the mentality to shut it down.
Then England returned. The first Poppy Cleall cut the deficit when she landed from a strong driving maul in the 70th minute. Then Kildunne came over the top, hitting a good line in the 22 and having the power (with a little help from Claudia MacDonald) to stand still and burst through a group of French defenders to score. Emily Scarratt’s conversion made her a one-point game in the final five minutes.
When Coumba Diallo stole an English line-up five yards from the French line, it looked like the visitors would hold out for the win. But England came back, patiently worked the phases and when that final penalty was awarded – for not rolling – Scarratt duly stepped up to place it.
Can’t access the stores? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to have the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.