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France win U20 series 2-0

France beat England 40-31 in Tours on Saturday to win this year's U20 series two games to nil. 

It took France just two minutes to get on the board. England frustrated a maul, but France were still able to move the ball to prop Lyna Abdallah who crashed through the England line. France led 7-0. But four minutes later, England replied with an near identical score, and the scores were tied 7-7.

France regained the lead in the 10th minute, Zoe Jean breaking the English line to run in and score. 12-7 to France, which was soon extended to 17-7, a break by Abdallah setting up a third French try. 19-7.

France were now scoring with ever visit to the England end, and in the 16th minute some great handling put in wing Flavie Laine in the corner. With a touchline conversion from Morgane Bourgeois the score was now 26-7.

The free-scoring game continued, but this time in England’s favour as no 14 Katie Buchanan broke down the near touchline, shrugged of French defenders, and added England’s second score. 26-12.

England nearly pulled another try back shortly after, but were held up next to the French posts, but after 30 minutes Buchanan finally brought a reward to a long period of English pressure with her second try. 26-19.

Six minutes later and England were level, with a great break by Francesca Goldthorp scoring near the corner. 26-26.

But it was France who would end the half on top, a flowing backrow move putting wing Hawa Tounkara in for a fifth French try. France led 33-26 at half-time.

It took ten minutes for the first try in the second half, and this again went to France, Hina Ikahehegi scoring taking France to 40-26.

But England’s forwards brought them back into the game five minutes later, driving over to narrow France’s lead to 40-31.

France had most of the possession for the next seven minutes and should have scored with a big overlap but the pass was overthrown. Two minutes later and Lou Roboam was forced into touch inches from the English line.

Almost constant French pressure in the final minutes could not add to the score, and France emerged 40-31 winners of an entertaining match.

France: 1 Lyna Abdallah (Lyon  OU); 2 Marion Zdzioblo (CA Brive Corrèze); 3 Amalia Bazola (Stade Toulousain) ; 4 Kiara Zago (SU Agen) ; 5 Hina Ikahehegi (Stade Villeneuvois Lille Métropole); 6 Léa Champon (cap) (FC Grenoble Amazones); 7 Clémentine Pages (Blagnac RF) ; 8 Zoé Jean (Stade Rennais Rugby); 9 Eneka Labeyrie (Lyon OU) ; 10 Morgane Bourgeois (Stade Bordelais) ; 11 Flavie Laine (Blagnac RF) ; 12 Anna Macipe (Montpellier HR) ; 13 Lili Dezou (Stade Toulousain) ; 14 Hawa Tounkara (AC Bobigny / SCUF); 15 Maé Levy (Montpellier HR)

16 Mélanie Blanchard (Stade Rennais Rugby); 17 Mailys Borak (Stade Bordelais) ; 18 Taina Maka (FC Grenoble Amazones); 19 Lou Roboam (Stade Toulousain) ; 20 Cléo Hagel (Lyon OU) ; 21 Aubane Rousset (Stade Bordelais) ; 22 MANAC Ngassa Maelig (Stade Rennais Rugby); 23 Emma Poulat (FC Grenoble Amazones); 24 Enoé Neri (FC Grenoble Amazones); 25 Lilou Graciet (Lyon OU)

England: 15. Francesca Goldthorp (Loughborough Lightning) ; 14. Katie Buchanan (Exeter Chiefs); 13. Phillipa Hendy (Gloucester-Hartpury); 12. Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs); 11. Grace White (Bristol Bears); 10. Lizzie Duffy (CC; Sale Sharks); 9. Tori Sellors (Worcester Warriors); 1. Catherine Wells (University Worcester Warriors Women); 2. Amy Dale (Gloucester-Hartpury); 3. Grace Clifford (Loughborough Lightning); 4. Lilli Ives Campion (Loughborough Lightning); 5. Niamh Orchard (Exeter Chiefs); 6. Kendall Waudby (Loughborough Lightning); 7. Maisy Allen (CC; Exeter Chiefs); 8. Gabriella Nigrelli (Bristol Bears)

16. Niamh Swailes (Sale Sharks); 17. Katherine Baverstock (Loughborough Lightning); 18. Niamh Williams (Wasps FC); 19. Steph Else (Gloucester-Hartpury); 20. Nicole Wythe (Harlequins); 21. Lucy Weaver (Loughborough Lightning); 22. April Ishida (Darlington Mowden Park)  ; 23. Leah Brough (University Worcester Warriors Women)