England Women U20 were defeated 7-17 by France Women U20 at Esher RFC on Saturday.
England’s points came from a first-half try from No. 8 Zoe Aldcroft, following up her player-of-the-match performance against Army Women last week, which was converted by Zoe Harrison.
France U20 scored tries through captain Fiona Lecat, No. 8 Lucie Vinacua and full back Charlotte Torres Duxan.
They took the lead after 17 minutes when Lecat barged her way over the line and extended their advantage soon after when Vinacua crossed in the left corner.
However, England responded seven minutes before half-time when they turned over a scrum on the opposition’s five-metre line and Aldcroft pounced to score. Harrison added the extras to close the gap to five points at the break.
The match entered a tense period in the second half but the away side moved further ahead on the hour mark. England full back Catriona McNaney made a brave tackle to prevent outside centre Ian Jason from scoring, but the ball was recycled and Torres Duxan dived over out wide to seal victory for France.
England Women U20 head coach Jo Yapp said: “The scoreline probably didn’t reflect the game overall but France took their opportunities and we didn’t. Unfortunately we weren’t clinical enough on the day.
“Part of our programme is to see whether the players can pick themselves up from these sort of defeats so it will be a real test of their character.
“They did fight hard today and we can’t fault their effort but there are certain parts of our game plan that we really need to have a look at. We’ll learn an awful lot from this experience.”
Saturday’s game was the first of two matches against France Women U20s with the second taking place on Friday 17 March at Stade Guy Boniface, Mont-de-Marsan (KO 7pm).
England 7 – 17 France
England Women U20s
15. Catriona McNaney (Bristol, University of Exeter)
14. Sophie Tandy (Aylesford Bulls, Clarke (67))
13. Ella Wyrwas (Welwyn, Hartpury College)
12. Lagilagi Tuima (Plymouth Albion, Attwood (52))
11. Emma Uren (Saracens, St Mary’s University, Twickenham)
10. Zoe Harrison (Saracens, Middlesex University)
9. Tazmin Bricknell (Bristol, Hartpury College, Bradley (76))
1. Ellena Perry (Saracens, Coventry University, Roberts (52))
2. Hannah West (Wasps, Brunel University, Gilbert (63))
3. Ellie Mulhearn (Bristol, Filton College, Churm (58))
4. Molly Morrissey (Lichfield, Hartpury College, Moynihan (58))
5. Anna Wolf (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumbria University)
6. Sally Stott (Vale of Lune, Edinburgh University, Wilcock (67))
7. Poppy Leitch (Bristol, University of Exeter) ©
8. Zoe Aldcroft (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumbria University)
16. Ellie Gilbert (Exeter Saracens, Hartpury College)
17. Michaella Roberts (Plymouth Albion)
18. Brogan Churm (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, Northumbria University)
19. Rosanna Moynihan (Welwyn, Hartpury College)
20. Charlie Wilcock (Waterloo)
21. Brooke Bradley (Bristol)
22. Lucy Attwood (Bristol, University of Bristol)
23. Brooke Clarke (Worcester Valkyries)
England Women U20 fixture and results list:
- England Women U20s 38 – 15 Army Women
Thursday 16 February, Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium
- England 7 – 17 France
Saturday 25 February, Esher RFC
- France v England: Friday 17 March, KO 7pm, Stade Guy Boniface, Mont-de-Marsan
Report courtesy of England Rugby