Planet Rugby

France claim incredible Crunch

01st February 2014 18:55

Share:

Yoann Huget of France scored 2nd try v England

Two tries: Yoann Huget

A 78th-minute try saw France recover to claim a 26-24 victory over England in a breathless Six Nations clash at the Stade de France on Saturday.

What a game!

France led 16-8 at the interval thanks to two early tries from Yoann Huget before Mike Brown scored just before the break to keep England in the contest.

An incredible comeback from England saw a 16-3 advantage for France at the end of the first quarter turn into 16-21 in England's favour going into the final 20 minutes, as Luther Burrell touched down and Danny Care slotted a drop goal.

France produced the best half-hour of the Philippe Saint-André era to start the game but progressively ran out of steam against an England side that went from strength to strength.

It was the home team that would have the last laugh though as a Gael Fickou try at the death sealed a memorable win.

France dominated at scrum time but England will harbour a number of regrets having seen their pack take the game by the scruff of the neck and dominating most of the second half.

It's worth repeating - what a game!

France got off to the perfect start when Huget latched onto a grubber from debutant fly-half Jules Plisson, stepped past the wrong-footed Mike Brown and raced home after just 32 seconds.

Jean-Marc Doussain missed the conversion, Owen Farrell pulled a penalty back for England before Doussain hit the target with his second kick at goal to leave France 8-3 ahead at the end of a frantic opening ten minutes.

The pace didn't slow though as Huget bagged his second try of the first quarter. The French wing beat a poor tackle from Alex Goode before passing inside to Brice Dulin, whose chip ahead bounced favourably for his flying team-mate.

Again Doussain missed the conversion but found the mark shortly afterwards as France's superiority at scrum time earned a penalty that gave the hosts a 16-3 lead.

England finished the half strongly however, and Brown's try just before the break kept his team alive. Care took the bold decision to run a very kickable penalty but he linked with Billy Vunipola and Brown beat three defenders, stretching an arm out over the whitewash in the corner.

Farrell missed the conversion but England came out of the dressing room after the interval breathing fire.

Care was denied a try when he was held inches short of the line but Farrell reduced the gap to five points with penalty.

England drew level after Vunipola bust through the French defence for the umpteenth time, offloading to Burrell, who could cruise in under the sticks.

Farrell's conversion gave England the lead for the first time as France's fast start seemed like a distant memory.

A cheeky drop-goal from Care ensured England got something in return for their sustained pressure as the hosts' composure disintegrated.

Maxime Machenaud and Goode traded penalties but although England clearly held the upper hand, they were unable to land the killer blow as Tom Youngs failed to find his jumpers at a five-metre lineout, letting a golden opportunity slip by.

With the game hanging in the balance, Dimitri Szarzewski bolted into space, held his line before finding Fickou, who dummied past Goode to score behind the posts and leave Machenaud with an easy conversion.

Man of the match: Huget scored two tries and both Yannick Nyanga and Danny Care deserve mentions but we'll go for Billy Vunipola, who went forward every time he got the ball, irrespective of how many defenders were on hand to stop him.

Moment of the match: Only one option here, Dimitri Szarzewski's break and pass to Gael Fickou to break English hearts and set up wild celebrations in the French capital.

Villain of the match: No real nasty stuff worth mentioning.

The scorers:

For France:
Tries: Huget 2, Fickou
Cons: Machenaud
Pens: Doussain 2, Machenaud

For England:
Tries: Brown, Burrell
Con: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 2, Goode
Drop: Care

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Pascal Papé (c), 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Yannick Forestier, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Antoine Burban, 21 Damien Chouly, 22 Maxime Machenaud, 23 Gael Fickou

England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Brad Barritt, 23 Alex Goode

Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Alain Rolland (Ireland), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615