France U20s were too strong for their English counterparts at Esher yesterday, winning out 17-5.
France led 7-5 lead at half-time but in the end the French pulled away with replacement Léna Auriol touching down for France’s third and final try later in the game.
France kicked off the match with some good momentum and England were soon put on the backfoot. They paid the price when the visitors made the most of the opportunities that were there with fly-half Camille Imart executing an accurate chip and chase from the breakdown. The No. 10 picked up and then offloaded to scrum-half and skipper Marie Menanteau who touched down under the posts on six minutes. Vice-captain Camille Cabalou added the conversion.
In the end Abbie Scott’s moment came when some good continuity and pressure by England saw Scott cut a nice line and break through some defensive tackles to crash over the try-line to score. Skipper Megan Goddard couldn’t make the conversion leaving England 7-5 adrift at half time.
After the restart England and France were once again neck and neck and it wasn’t until the 50th minute that France pulled away from England with a try from a line-out, catch and drive and then a driving maul. Flanker Chloé Placines got on the end of it and took the spoils. Cabalou couldn’t convert this time.
And that was where the scoring ended until the 80 minute of the game. England and France both defended staunchly but the battle was played in the middle of the field despite some nice breaks from the likes of Rochelle Smith and Goddard.
France, however, were more clinical and when their chance came they took it. As the seconds counted down the visitors executed a well worked line-out, catch and drive and the ball was recycled out and replacement Auriol went over in the corner. Cabalou couldn’t add the conversion but it did not matter as France took the 17-5 victory.
England Women U20s will now play France on March 15 in Dijon.
England U20s (Name, Club, Division)
15 Georgia Peedle (Saracens, Herts, London & South East), 14 Mary-Ann Gittings (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West), 13 Rochelle Smith (Saracens, Surrey, London & South East), 12 Rachel Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North), 11 Holly Molesworth (Bristol, Gloucestershire, South West), 10 Megan Goddard (C) (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West), 9 Leanne Riley (Saracens, Middlesex, London & South East), 1 Amy Needham (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North), 2 Lucy Aylesbury (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West), 3 Eleanor Prescott (Waterloo, Lancashire, North), 4 Courtney Gill (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West), 5 Francesca Hall (Richmond, Hampshire, London & South East), 6 Lucie Wood (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West), 7 Kayleigh Callaway-Bawden (VC) (Bristol/Penryn, Cornwall, South West), 8 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumberland, North).
Substitutions: Nielson for Aylesbury (16), Blackburn for Riley (60), Gatlin for Hall (62), Evans for Needham, (62), Kells for Molesworth (67), Carys Williams for Wood(72), F Williams for Roberts (76), Cooper-Wall for Needham (77).
15 Aissetou DIALLO, 14 Meryl DUBERTRAND, 13 Camille BOUDAUD, 12 Camille CABALOU (VC), 11 Cyrielle BANET, 10 Camille IMART, 9 Marie MENANTEAU (C), 1 Jennifer MENGUE NDONG, 2 Wendy DIVOUX, 3 Marjorie VAZ, 4 Pia CLAVE CHASTANG, 5 Chloé PLACINES, 6 Roxane BILON, 7 Marina KEREMBELLEC, 8 Marion GARNIER.
Replacements: 16 Céline ESPIT, 17 Léna AURIOL, 18 Laura MENETRIER, 19 Charline CORRO, 20 Gladys BERTRAND, 21 Anaïs MARCON, 22 Kimberley LAUGAUDIN, 23 Aurélie GUILLEE
Referee: Sara Cox