France A 0 England A 3
England A Women also picked up a victory on French soil today (Saturday) with a hard fought 3-0 triumph in Bourgoin.
Following England Women’s 31-0 victory in the RBS 6 Nations, England’s Shelley Rae, who has 44 caps for England, kicked her country to victory in the 73rd minute of the game with a composed penalty attempt in an intimidating French arena.
The score-line by no means reflected the ferocity of the high-tempo game which saw both sides come close to scoring, but the impressive defence of both England and France prevented either side touching down.
England A Head Coach Mike Barnett said: “This was a very hard-fought game of rugby and easily the most physical game our girls have played this season. They all came off the pitch feeling they had played a very hard game of rugby.
“Shelley, who was playing her first game of international rugby this season, was at the heart of the win as it was her composure and experience throughout the game which helped keep us on top.
“The most pleasing thing for me was the way we came back at half-time, having been under pressure for most of the first 40 minutes. We really turned the tables on France and started dominating territory while they had to defend.”
The hosts started the game very strongly, putting England A under serious pressure in the opening stages. An anxious England made mistakes and that gave France the possession as they made several clean breaks but some great cover defence by Plymouth Albion scrum-half Georgina Rozario and centre Georgina Roberts kept France out.
England too had their chances and after a clever chip through by Wasps fly-half Rae Roberts came close to scoring, but the centre was beaten to the ball by full-back Emilie Verouil.
France continued where they had started and forced England into their own half and they again came close to scoring on 20 minutes but No. 8 Aïda BA knocked-on close to the try line with Fiona Pocock and Vicki Jackson piling on the pressure. Some quickly taken tap penalties also saw England fall on to the back foot, but the tourists continued to defend well and Jackson made a big hit to keep France to nil at half-time.
The second-half was a different story for England as they turned the tables on their rivals. England instead dominated possession whilst France had to defend furiously.
A good run by Waterloo’s Helen Price saw the wing come close to scoring, but France held her out, while England’s backrow were also making the yards, but they also hit a wall of staunch defence.
England came close to breaking the grid-lock on 70 minutes but Rae was unsuccessful with her drop-goal. The Wasps player soon made amends though with the crucial kick of the afternoon on 73 minutes when France were penalised at the break down. England could have made it 6-0 on 78 minutes but Rae’s second penalty attempt came agonisingly close as it struck the post and then drifted wayward leaving England to settle for the 3-0 win.
England A are next back in action on March 15th when they take on the Nomads at London Irish ARFC.
1 Claire Purdy (Wasps) (C), 2 Samantha Dale (Worcester), 3 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 4 Sara Anastasi (Richmond), 5 Natalie Binstead (Wasps), 6 Gemma Sharples (Worcester), 7 Jane Leonard (Army/Wasps), 8 Sonia Green (Saracens), 9 Georgina Rozario (Plymouth Albion), 10 Shelly Rae (Wasps), 11 Fiona Pocock (Richmond), 12 Tina Lee (Clifton), 13 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 14 Helen Price (Waterloo), 15 Vicki Jackson (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Samantha Jamieson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 17 Katherine Smith (Richmond), 18 Ali Stevens (Lichfield), 19 Lois Moulding (Lichfield), 20 Sarah Guest (Worcester), 21 Charlotte Boggis (Exeter University), 22 Francesca Matthews (Richmond).
Substitutions: Boggis for Lee (60), Stevens for Anastasi (64), Smith for Crowley (64), Moulding for Sharples (70), Matthews for Price (70)
1 AUCOULON Céline (Nanterre), 2 NOGUERA Audrey (ST Orens), 3 LOPEZ Isabelle (Herm), 4 MAYOT Françoise (Romagnat), 5 BOUISSET Cyrielle (Toulouges), 6 VAUPRE Amandine (Caen), 7 VIOLA Perrine (Montpellier), 8 BA Aïda (Bobigny), 9 MAHE Guenaelle (Rennes), 10 PARRA Audrey (Montpellier), 11 PERTUS Alexandra (Villeneuve d’Asq), 12 YAHE Marie-Alice (Montpellier), 13 MOREAUX EMILIE (Limoges), 14 ESTEVE LAËTITIA (Montpellier), 15 VEROUIL EMILIE (Bordeaux). Replacements: 16 CHOBET Christelle (Toulouges), 17 MANSARD Cyndia (St Orens), 18 CUBIAT Dominique (Herm), 19 CANAL Lucie (Rennes), 20 JOUHATE Magali (Romagnat), 21 POUBLAN ELODIE (Lons), 22 CHROUKY HAYATE (Lons).
England A Women Fixtures
Feb 2nd England v Nomads London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 1230pm LOST 27-12
Feb 9th Spain v England A, Stadium of the University City of Madrid, KO 4pm WON 22-5
Feb 23 France A v England A, Bourgoin, 3pm GMT WON 3-0
March 15th England A v Nomads, London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 3pm