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Rugby - 06. November 2011.

England's Women miss out by the narrowest of margins in France

France 16 England 15

England Women’s two match series against France ended in
disappointment today (Saturday) with a 68th minute converted try sealing a
16-15 victory for the hosts at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in

England, who fielded five uncapped players for the test match, led for most
of the game but the strong French side were never far behind and in the end
made the most of their opportunities to make it two wins from two in four
days following a 14-5 win on Wednesday.

England Head Coach Gary Street said: “We are obviously disappointed
to lose this match, but it was very useful to get five uncapped players on
the pitch today who all showed up. They have shown a tremendous amount of
potential as have our other relatively young squad members.

“France put in a strong and powerful performance today and we have
learned valuable lessons from that. With several of our experienced players
available for selection for our three tests against New Zealand later this
month I think we will be in a strong position on the back of this

The match was again played in severely wet conditions with kick off getting
underway in torrential rain but England played the conditions well and got
off to a great start with debutant Alexandra Matthews scoring after just
four minutes. Some good work by centre Emily Scarratt gave England space in
France’s 22 and fullback Kay Wilson was also instrumental in taking
England’s attacking game forward. Georgina Roberts was in support and
a nice inside pass then saw Captain Sarah Hunter come close to the France
try line. 18-year-old Matthews then finished off England’s attacking
move by muscling her way over the try line. With Scarratt converting England
led 7-0.

France had their chances too, first missing a penalty on six minutes, but
then fly-half Aurielle Bailon made the most of a second attempt on 11
minutes to reduce the deficit to 7-3. Bailon also had a third attempt on 15
minutes but wasn’t as lucky with her strike that time.

England, however, continued to power on and the forwards made some good
space in France’s territory but France were just as powerful and came
close to scoring when Wilson was put under pressure in England’s 22.
France overturned the ball in the ruck and recycled out to the midfield. A
nice chip by Bailon handed France the opportunity to score, but Scarratt
covered well in defence. But with Bailon converting a second penalty it was
France who had the last word at half-time leaving just one point separating
the two teams.

England came out in the second half firing, just like they had done in the
first few minutes of the game, and they made an immediate impression on the
scoreboard. England were in fact under pressure with France in their 22 but
Scarratt was lucky to get the ball away and break through France’s
defence to get the ball out to speedster Michael Staniford who charged 65
metres upfield. France’s backs didn’t have Staniford’s
speed and the Wasps wing scored with relative ease. Scarratt, however,
couldn’t make the conversion.

France again struck back with Bailon adding another penalty to make the
score 12-9 but England kept the score board ticking over with a 56th minute
Scarratt penalty.

England, however, remained under constant pressure and French executed some
powerful drives in their 22. Bailon was again at the heart of their attack
and a nice chip through nearly saw France score, only for England to gather
up the loose ball and save the try.

France still had the upper hand though and a series of powerful drives put
them in real contention to take the lead. England’s defence held firm
for some ten minutes but in the end Bailon chipped ahead again and this time
wing Laureline Fourcade got on to the end of it and scored in the right
corner. Bailon struck the conversion and although it hit the posts it
bounced the right way leaving the home side to take a 16-15 lead for the
first time with just ten minutes remaining.

England threw everything they had to make up the difference with all seven
replacements now on the field and it looked like they had enough with some
powerful drives in France’s 22. But France’s defence held firm
as they were rallied on by the vociferous home crowd and they took the
victory and the two series win over the reigning Six Nations champions.


15        Kay   
(Bristol), 14    Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 13
(Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 12     Emily Scarratt
(Lichfield), 11        
(Wasps), 10   Kimberley      Oliver (Bristol),
9       La Toya Mason (Wasps),
(Worcester), 2 Victoria       
Fleetwood     (Lichfield), 3  Laura
(Worcester), 4 Tamara Taylor(Darlington Mowden Park Sharks),
Rowena         Burnfield (Richmond),
Matthews       (Richmond), 7 Marlie Packer
(Bristol), 8  SarahHunter (Lichfield). Replacements:
(Richmond), 17       Rosemarie
Millar-Mills     (Lichfield), 19 Hannah
Gallagher(Saracens), 20        
IsobelNoel-Smith    (Bristol),
21        Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), 22
Large  (Worcester)

Tries: Matthews (4mins), Staniford (45 mins)

Conversions: Scarratt

Penalties: Scarratt

Substitutions: Turner for Fleetwood, Hunt for Mason (both HT), Crowley for
Keates (55), Noel Smith for Matthews, Gallagher for Packer (both 59), Millar
Mills for Burnfield, Large for Roberts (72).


15 Jessy Tremoulière, 14  Fourcade, 13 Marjourie Mayans, 12
Laura Di Muzio, 11 Diono Aguerre, 10 Aureile Bailon, 9 Alice Marie
Yahé,  1 Helene Ezanno, 2  Salles,  3 Chobet, 4 De
Nadaï, 5 Cyrielle Bouisset, 6 Chatelier, 7 Rodriguez, 8 Claire Canal.
Replacements: 16 Galle Mignot, 17 Elodie Portaries, 18 Assa Koïta, 19
Audrey Forlani, 20 Jennifer Troncy, 21 Agricole, 22 Chloe Pelle

Tries: Fourcade

Conversions: Bailon

Penalties: Bailon (3)

Half time score:France 6 England 7

England Autumn International Series

Nov 2nd France v England, Jean Bouin Stadium, Marseille,  France 14
England 5

Nov 5th France v England, Pierre de Coubertin Stadium at Chateaurenard,
France 16 England 15

Nov 26th England v New Zealand, Twickenham Stadium, KO 5pm

Nov 29th England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, KO 7pm

Dec 3rd England v New Zealand, Esher RFC, 2pm


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