Planet Rugby

England conquer Paris

11th March 2012 14:49

Share:

Manu Tuilagi France v england

Opening try: Manu Tuilagi

England made it three away wins in the 2012 Six Nations when they weathered a France storm to run out 24-22 winners in Paris on Sunday.

The visitors outscored their hosts three tries to one in a thrilling encounter that went down to the wire as the French fought in vain to keep their 10-match unbeaten run at Stade de France intact.

It was a passionate performance from the English, who never relinquished their lead after centre Manu Tuilagi crossed for the opening try in the 13th minute of the match.

France's efforts in the first half had been disappointing, and the 14-9 deficit at the break was a good reflection of this, but also the superb work of the visitors.

England came out with the same passion and vigour in the second 40 as they had done in the previous half, bruising in the forwards and creative in the backs.

They were unrelenting up front, while France looked rudderless at times when they had the ball.

Their defence was outstanding and managed to hold France off on a weight of possession, until the French staged a dramatic fightback that was ultimately thwarted by their nemesis team.

England, mathematically at least, will head into the final weekend with a shot at the title - and Stuart Lancaster's bid to become the next full-time coach is building momentum. Wales, though, are now all but guaranteed the Six Nations title.

England's aggressive defence really rattled and disrupted France early on and the visitors took full advantage with two first-half tries.

Chris Ashton made a big hit on the halfway line and Owen Farrell and Lee Dickson combined to unleash Tuilagi who out-sprinted the cover to touch down in the corner.

Farrell converted with a terrific kick from the touchline and England doubled their lead five minutes later.

Number eight Ben Morgan thundered through the French defence before offloading to his namesake Foden and the England full-back scrambled to the line. Farrell added the simple conversion.

France kept in the game with three first-half penalties, Lionel Beauxis landing two and Julien Dupuy slotting one.

Farrell landed a penalty early in the second half as England survived a period with Charlie Sharples in the sin-bin for a deliberate knock on. On his return, though, Beauxis and replacement Morgan Parra cut England's lead.

However, the decisive moment came when Tom Croft was given space to hit full stride before cutting through the French line and rounding the cover.

Farrell's tough conversion was crucial as France rallied once again.

Finally France crossed the tryline to make it a tension-filled last five minutes as Wesley Fofana went over in the corner for his fourth try in as many matches after being fed by Parra, who then converted from the touchline.

The French went roaring back into the English half spearheaded by Aurélien Rougerie but replacement Francois Trinh-Duc's effort at a drop-goal fell short and England held on.

Man of the match: England's victory truly was a group effort, and a team gong is richly deserved. However, it's hard not to single out some outstanding performances - namely from Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Owen Farrell. But in the end we thought Ben Morgan gave as good as he got with a tough and uncompromising effort at number eight for England.

Moment of the match: Take your pick! There were many, but England's third try did it for us as Tom Croft sent Aurélien Rougerie the wrong way and broke one tackle to touch down. Brilliant.

Villain of the match: There was a yellow card for Charlie Sharples, but we really don't think there was hardly any malice involved.

The scorers:

For France:
Try: Fofana
Con: Parra
Pens: Beauxis 3 , Dupuy, Parra

For England:
Tries: Tuilagi, Foden, Croft
Cons: Farell 3
Pen: Farrell 2

France: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 5 Yohann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 William Servat, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Lionel Nallet, 19 Louis Picamoles, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 Francois Trinh-Duc, 22 Maxime Mermoz.

England : 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Charlie Sharples, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Charlie Hodgson, 22 Mike Brown.

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

By Dave Morris

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821