England 34-12 France

England came from behind to beat France 34-12 and claim both points in the opening game of the Gillette Four Nations.

France’s first half was characterised by skill and enthusiasm and Bobbie Goulding’s side led 12-4 at the interval.

Tony Smith’s half-time words seemingly had some effect because thirty unanswered points after the restart secured the win.

England opened the scoring after both sides had opportunities, the ball worked to the right from a penalty and Lee Smith finding enough space to cross.

The French replied when Clint Greenshields set up Vincent Duport who finished brilliantly at the corner, Thomas Bosc converting for a 6-4 lead.

A second French try followed quickly when Julien Touxagas took an interception and Kane Bentley found his way over beneath the posts, Bosc converting once again.

That lead could have been extended when Jean-Phillippe Baile failed to ground a high kick to the in-goal area, and Bosc missed a penalty attempt just before the break.

England hit back soon after the restart, Richard Myler stepping his way over the line and Kevin Sinfield adding the goal to cut the deficit to just two points.

James Wynn went close for the French but instead the hosts re-took the lead when Sinfield found the space to send Myler over for his second, the conversion making the score 16-12.

Another try swiftly followed: this time Sinfield was the scorer while Jamie Peacock turned provider, Sinfield adding another two points to the total with his goal.

England ended the game as a contest with a spectacular try, Ryan Hall taking an interception close to his own line and racing the length of the field to score, Sinfield converting.

France’s ill-discipline took the shine off their performance:  David Ferriol should have been sent off when he dropped on Sinfield’s head with his forearm.

England rounded off the scoring when Kyle Eastmond’s perfectly-weighted kick to the corner was touched down by Tom Briscoe, Sinfield adding a fifth and final goal.

There was only enough time left for Baile to be shown a deserved red card for a reckless swinging arm to Myler’s head which temporarily knocked the youngster unconscious. 

England:

T: Smith (13); Myler (44, 50); Sinfield (53); Hall (65); T. Briscoe (77)
G: Sinfield (44, 50, 53, 65, 77)

France:

T:Duport (17); Bentley (20)
G: Bosc (17, 18)

HT: 4-12
Ref: L Williamson
Att: 11,529

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