France won their 19th U20 “test” against England, in 22 meetings, at Wellington College, after England had lead for most of the first half.
France’s U20s took a while to find their feet in the first of two games against England U20s today, but after a very even first 40 minutes the junior bleus shut out England in the second half to record a comfortable win.
England started well, Lizzie Duffy seeing a gap to dive over under the posts after just eight minutes.
France, lead by Morgane Bourgeois, who was recently capped at senior level, took a while to respond and for the first quarter England looked the stronger team despite Hawa Tounkara showing her considerable speed to level the scores (aided by an excellent touchline conversion by Bourgeois, who looked faultless with the boot all game). England looked to be more then a match for France, especially after Amy Dale put the home team back in the lead again within a couple of minutes of the restart.
England continued to lead 12-7 until the half-hour when Tounkara’s speed again left most of the England team in their wake. She was not quite able to score a second, but Eneka Labeyrie running in support was. With Bourgeois on target, France were ahead for the first time.
This seemed to finally calm French nerves and three minutes later some magnificent handling put Maelig Ngassa Manac to extend the lead to 21-12. However just before the break Dale scored a second for England and at halftime the game looked like it could go either way with France just one score ahead on 21-17.
But France when came out again they seemed to find another level and dominated much of the possession and territory. Some more brilliant handling by the backs put Bourgeois in for a fourth try after 50m (28-17), after which Tounkara again showed her speed for a fifth score a quarter of an hour later (35-17).
Now comfortably ahead France seemed to slightly lose concentration. A series of scoring opportunities were missed, but with England having few scoring chance the visitors were able to see out time.
The teams now move onto Tours for the second game next weekend.
England U20: 15. Georgina Tasker (Loughborough Lightning); 14. Grace Crompton (Bristol Bears); 13. Nancy McGillivray (Exeter Chiefs); 12. Lizzie Duffy (Sale Sharks); 11. Jenny Hesketh (CC; Bristol Bears); 10. Flo Robinson (Exeter Chiefs); 9. Alicia Maude (Gloucester-Hartpury); 1. China Kill (Bristol Bears); 2. Alana Bainbridge (DMP Durham Sharks); 3. Kelsey Clifford (Saracens); 4. Lilli Ives Campion (Loughborough Lightning) ; 5. Gabriella Nigrelli (Bristol Bears); 6. Nikita Prothero (Loughborough Lightning); 7. Maisy Allen (CC; Exeter Chiefs); 8. Daisy Hibbert-Jones (Sale Sharks)
16. Rosie Dobson (Harlequins); 17. Abby Middlebrooke (Exeter Chiefs); 18. Georgie Grimes (Exeter Chief); 19. Delaney Burns (Bristol Bears); 20. Megan Barwick (Bath); 21. Abi Kershaw (Worcester Warriors); 22. Pip Hendy (Gloucester-Hartpury); 23. Holly Thorpe (DMP Durham Sharks)
France U20: 1. Amber Mwayembe (FC Grenoble); 2. Élisa Riffonneau (Stade Rennais Rugby); 3. Emma Poulat (FC Grenoble); 4. Adele Besson (Bordelais Stadium); 5. Kiara Zago (SU Agen); 6. Léa Champon (FC Grenoble) (Captain); 7. Clementine Pages (Blagnac RF); 8. Zoe Jean (Stade Rennais Rugby); 9. Eneka Labeyrie (Lyon OR); 10. Maé Levy (Montpellier HR); 11. Flavie Laine (Blagnac RF); 12. Anna Macipe (Montpellier HR); 13. Maelig Ngassa Manac (Stade Rennais Rugby); 14. Hawa Tounkara (AC Bobigny / SCUF); 15. Morgane Bourgeois (Bordelais Stadium)
16. Melanie Blanchard (Stade Rennais Rugby); 17. Mailys Borak (Bordeaux Stadium); 18. Hina Ikahehegi (Villeneuvois Lille Metropolis Stadium); 19. Taina Maka (FC Grenoble); 20. Emma Lechardoy (Blagnac RF); 21. Aubane Rousset (Bordelais Stadium); 22. Cleo Hagel (Lyon OR); 23. Amalia Bazola (Toulouse Stadium); 24. Lou Roboam (Stade Toulousain); 25. Lyna Abdallah (Lyon OR); 26. Lili Dezou (Stade Toulousain)