England Women Under 20s were unable to turn the tables on their French counterparts today (Saturday), with France making it two wins out of two this season with a 10-5 victory at Esher RFC.
England, who suffered a 25-0 defeat to France in February, were a much improved side and in fact led France 5-0 at half-time. However, France took their chances when it mattered and England paid the price for that.
England started brightly, keeping the ball for a number of phases and putting the French under pressure right from the kick off, and only a try saving tackle stopped fullback Sydney Gregson from scoring after just five minutes.
The pressure on the visitors continued with England camped in France’s 22 for much of the first 20 minutes and in the end that pressure turned into points when Bristol wing Devon Holt scored.
England kept the ball for ten phases of play before spreading the play out-wide. France ran out of defenders and Holt outpaced the French defence to score. With the conversion missed England led 5-0 at the break.
After the restart, England continued in much of the same vein, and although France had some possession England defended aggressively making some big strong hits in midfield.
France turned the tables on England for the first time in the match on 49 minutes when they kept hold of the ball for a number of phases. This allowed France to gain more continuity and field position, and some quick hands through the backs allowed wing Justine Vergnaud to score. France also missed the conversion, leaving the score at 5-10.
England suffered again though when France made their chances count, this time through lock Emilie Mathieu who powered through. Missing the conversion did not matter though as France took the lead for the first time and held on to take their second win over England this year.
Head Coach Jo Yapp said: “We are really disappointed with the loss, especially as we dominated possession in the first-half and were leading the game.
“Our general performance has come a long way from the start of the season and that is underlined by taking 20 points off the defeat from France last month. This was a good performance for the team but also for several individuals.”
England (Club, CB, Academy, AASE college)
15 Sydney Gregson (Bristol, Hertfordshire, South East, Hartpury College), 14 Devon Holt (Bristol, Berkshire, South West), 13 Rachel Lund (VC) (Worcester, Yorkshire, Midlands), 12 Emily Wood (Lichfield, Gloucestershire, South West), 11 Charlotte Clapp (Saracens, South East), 10 Sarah Nicholas (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands), 9 Caity Mattinson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Gloucestershire, North), 1 Abbie Parsons (C) (Bristol, Berkshire, South West), 2 Rebecca Noon (Lichfield, Staffordshire, Midlands), 3 Katie Trevarthen (Camp Hill, Notts, Lincs & Derby, Midlands), 4 Amy Wigley (Lichfield, North, Midlands) , 5 Olivia Jones (Bristol, Oxfordshire, South West), 6 Abigail Walker (Worcester, Gloucestershire, South West), 7 Sarah Bern (Esher, Surrey, South East, Hartpury College), 8 Sally Stott (Vale of Lune, Lancashire, North), Replacements: 16 Lark Davies (Worcester, North Midlands, Midlands), 17 Henrietta Burkinshaw (Lichfield, Yorkshire, North), 18 Georgia Bradley (Hartpury/Bristol, South East, Hartpury College), 19 Catherine O’Donnell (Vale of Lune, Cumbria, North), 20 Rebecca Trist (Worcester, Lancashire, South West), 21 Lucy Nye (Lichfield, Devon, South West), 22 Charlotte Holland (Bath, Devon, South West), 23 Zoe Aldcroft (Hartpury, Yorkshire, North, Hartpury College)
Substitutions: O’Donnell on for Wigley (27), Davies for Noon (48), Burkinshaw for
Parsons (60), Aldcroft for Nicholas (65), Holland for Lund (70), Nye for Holt, Trist for Walker, Bradley for Trevarthan (all 76)
15 Prune Pegot, 14 Seraphine Okemba, 13 Marine Menager, 12 Tallis Kuresa, 11 Justine Vergnaud, 10 Montserrat Amedee, 9 Pauline Bourdon, 1 Mailys Traore (C), 2 Agathe Sochat (VC), 3 Emeline Gros, 4 Emilie Mathieu, 5 Annaelle Deshayes, 6 Julie Annery, 7 Emma Roubinet, 8 Gaelle Hermet. Replacements: 16 Laurie Laborie, 17 Melanie Combebias, 18 Axelle Alaux, 19 Pauline Soulard, 20 Elise Pignot, 21 Lori Ramirez, 22 Cindy Faure, 23 Ophelie Gincourt.
Tries: Vergnaud, Mathieu