The online home of Women's Rugby

England kick of Autumn series with French win

England kicked off their Autumn test series with a 10 point win over France at Esher.

Though France took the lead, England rallied hard to come back and secure a 23-13 win against a dogged French side, who will take plenty of positives from this away showing.

Both sides featured a number of new and young players all looking to stick their hands up for tougher tests to follow in the coming weeks.

England now turn their attentions to a three test series against New Zealand, while France prepare to host the USA twice in the coming weeks.

France opened up the scoring three minutes in with a well taken penalty by Aurlie Bailon but England hit back almost immediately with a penalty of their own, converted by newcomer Amber Reed.

It was all France in the opening period and their hard work was rewarded when full back Jessy Trmoulire went over in the corner and Bailon added the extras for a 3-10 lead.

Reed added another penalty after 18 minutes and then France were reduced to 14 when Elodie Guiglion was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

England made the extra player count when lightening fast winger Ruth Laybourn showed a superb turn of pace to race past the French defence after excellent work by fullback Danielle Waterman in the build-up to make the score 11-10.

England made a few changes at the break, and one made an immediate impact. Already a star on the Sevens circuit, Joanne Watmore, scored just minutes into her XV debut showing superb strenth to score a try following more good work from the stand-out Waterman. Reed added the points and England led by 8.

It was England's turn then to go down to 14 when Heather Fisher infringed in front of the referee and was given a yellow card. Bailon knocked over a penalty while she was off.

With Fisher back on the pitch England got back on top and scored a third try through replacement scrum half Fiona Davidson who picked up a loose ball and raced through unopposed to make the score 23-18 and seal the win.

England: 15 Danielle Waterman (VC) (Worcester), 14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 13 Claire Allan (Richmond), 12 Amber Reed (Bristol), 11 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington), 10 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield) 1 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Kate Newton (Bristol), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 6 Heather Fisher (Worcester), 7 Jane Leonard (Wasps), 8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield).

Replacements: 16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 18 Laura Keates (Worcester), 19 Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), 20 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), 21 Fiona Davidson (Richmond), 22 Ceri Large (Worcester), 23 Joanne Watmore (Worcester)

France: 1. Julie Duval (Caen)*, 2. Laetitia Salles (La Valette), 3. Christelle Chobet (Lons), 4. Sandra Rabier (Caen), 5. Assa Koita (Bordeaux), 6. Manon Andr (St Orens), 7. Coumba Diallo (Bobigny), 8. Safi N'Diaye (Montpellier), 9. Marie Alice Yah (Perpignan), 10. Aurlie Bailon (Montpellier), 11. Elodie Guiglion (Perpignan)*, 12. Audrey Parra (Montpellier), 13. Cline Hguy (Bayonne), 14. Julie Billes (Perpignan)*, 15. Jessy Trmoulire (Romagnat)
Replacements: 16: Mlanie Busques* (Lons), 17: Hlne Ezanno (Rennes) , 18: Marjorie Vaz (Romagnat)*, 19: Marine Denadai (Montpellier), 20: Laetitia Grand* (Lons), 21: Sandra Metier* (Bobigny), 22: Camille Grassineau* (Bordeaux), 23: Laurne Camoin* (Sassenage)