Composed England hold off France

Sat, 23 Feb 2013 18:43
Large tuilagi scores corner630

England showed good composure to secure a 23-13 victory over France in their Six Nations encounter at a chilly Twickenham on Saturday.

England showed good composure to secure a 23-13 victory over France in their Six Nations encounter at a chilly Twickenham on Saturday.

Owen Farrell kicked 12 points and replacement flyhalf Toby Flood landed two late penalties as England inflicted a third straight defeat of the tournament on bottom-of-the-table France - 'Les Bleus' worst start to a Championship since they lost their opening three games in the 1982 Five Nations.

Much-improved France turned round 10-9 in front after Wesley Fofana's superb solo score provided the only try of the first half.

The game was still in the balance, with England leading 12-10, when recalled centre Tuilagi scored a try that might have been disallowed for a ruck offence in the build-up.

It was a sign of England's strength that coach Stuart Lancaster made three changes to a winning side, with the powerful Tuilagi replacing Billy Twelvetrees in midfield and Dylan Hartley taking over from Tom Youngs at hooker.

Meanwhile Courtney Lawes marked his 24th birthday by filling in for 'flu victim James Haskell at blindside flank.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre reacted to defeats by Italy and Wales by making seven changes and a positional switch.

Halfbacks Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc returned while Fofana was moved to his preferred position of centre, with Vincent Clerc taking his place on the wing.

Up front, hooker Benjamin Kayser, prop Thomas Domingo, flanker Yannick Nyanga and debutant lock Christophe Simon featured in a new-look pack.

Farrell and scrumhalf Parra exchanged early penalties to leave the match level at 3-3 in the fourth minute.

The French pack shoved their England counterparts backwards to win a penalty and also denied the hosts continuity of possession at the breakdown.

England came close to a try but had to settle for another Farrell penalty after the onrushing Tuilagi was brilliantly tackled by Parra just a few yards away from the line.

Instead it was France who had a try thanks to a brilliant 30th minute effort from Fofana, released after Clerc expertly gathered a high ball.

Fofana evaded Lawes on the halfway line and sped past wing Chris Ashton before avoiding an attempted tap tackle by England captain Chris Robshaw.

Fofana handed off scrumhalf Ben Youngs and the recovering Ashton's desperate dive couldn't derail a run of more than 60 metres to the line for a great individual score.

Parra converted and France were 10-6 in front.

Farrell's third penalty reduced France's lead to a point and that was their lead at half-time after Parra, a controlling influence in open play, saw a long-range penalty fall short.

Early in the second half England conceded a scrum penalty but Parra's 40m effort drifted to the right of the posts

France were made to pay for those penalty misses either side of half-time when, after a drive off a line-out, Farrell made it four goalkicks from four attempts to edge England 12-10 in front in the 47th minute.

Tuilagi, who on his last England start scored one and created two of their three tries in a shock 38-21 win over world champions New Zealand in December, extended that lead to 17-10 as the hosts finally crossed France's line.

Nyanga dropped a high ball and in the ensuing ruck the ball was kicked forward by Tom Wood onto England replacement Mako Vunipola.

However, South African referee Craig Joubert - in charge when France lost the 2011 World Cup final to New Zealand - let play continue and the ball squirted out to Tuilagi who powered his way over from 40 metres.

Farrell, surprisingly, missed the conversion and shortly afterwards England's lead was cut to 17-13 when France replacement flyhalf Frederic Michalak landed a penalty.

Flyhalf Farrell then appeared to suffer a leg injury in kicking a penalty that fell short of the posts and was replaced by Flood.

England, with Flood also kicking well out of hand, then played most of the last 10 minutes in the French 22 to secure a hard-fought win.

Man of the match: It was a team effort from England, and no-one worked harder than their captain Chris Robshaw who gave absolutely everything.

Moment of the match: The opening try was piece of individual brilliance from Fofana who got the ball out wide in his own half and danced through the English defence to run in a try of high quality.

Villain of the match: There were none.

The scorers:

For England:
Try: Tuilagi
Pens: Farrell 4, Flood 2

For France:
Try: Fofana
Con: Parra
Pens: Parra, Michalak

Yellow card: Cole (78 mins, foul play)

Teams:

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 James Haskell, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

France: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Florian Fritz.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: John Lacey (Ireland), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

South Africa vs Ireland
sast: 17h00 | local: 17h00

  • 13 | 10
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 June 2016
Griffons v Free State Cheetahs 12h10 Welkom
Griquas v Sharks 13h00 Kimberley
Georgia U20 v France U20 13h15 Manchester
Argentina U20 v South Africa U20 13h30 Salford
Boland v Namibia 14h00 Wellington
Scotland U20 v Wales U20 15h30 Manchester
Australia U20 v New Zealand U20 15h45 Salford
Ireland U20 v England U20 18h00 Salford
Argentina v France 18h10 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 June 2016
United States v Russia 02h00 Sacramento
Canada v Italy 16h00 Toronto
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Jaguares v Blues 22h00 Buenos Aires
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0
RELATED ARTICLES