France 12-66 England

England crushed France with a new-look side after their disappointing World Cup performance.

Richie Myler scored a hat trick of tries and nine goals, whilst debutant Ryan Hall also weighed in with a try.

An England victory was always likely, and the injuries of several key players severely weakened France‘s chances. The strong English pack dominated their opposition and the French side found it difficult to contain them.

The damage was done in the first half as England raced to a 44-0 lead. However, France showed some promise in the second half, limiting England to a further 22 points in the second half.

The scoring began after seven minutes with Ryan Atkins scoring from a short ball by Gareth Hock, easily rounding the full back Constant Villegas to score. From the next set, Danny McGuire finished the move of the match. Sam Burgess sent Hock through a gap deep in the English half, and the supporting McGuire, Shaun Briscoe and Scott Moore combined sublimely.

The English did not stop there. Myler’s support play finished off a good move that started with Jamie Peacock and McGuire combining to put Burgess through a gap. Myler went over for his second shortly after, created by a clever offload by Peacock.

Tries from the two English wingers increased the lead further, as Peter Fox burrowed in on the right wing, and McGuire created a try for his Leeds teammate Hall from a scrum soon after.

Briscoe grabbed a brace just before half-time, as his good support play twice put him in the right place at the right time.

Facing a 44-point deficit at half time, France showed considerable spirit in the second half to score two well-made tries from Thomas Bosc kicks.  They opened the scoring, as Jean-Philippe Baile was the first to reach a clever chip over the line by Bosc. It was the first time France had put pressure on the English line and they were rewarded with a try.

James Roby answered soon after for England. He put Eorl Crabtree through a huge gap near the line, and subsequently supported Crabtree who once again offloaded for Roby to finish the move he had started.

Another two tries followed for England, although the French defence was putting up more resistance. A break by Fox from a dummy half run isolated the full back, and the supporting Myler finished to complete his hat trick.

It was Myler’s turn to be the creator, as he put Burgess through a gaping hole in the French defence for him to score a well-deserved try. Myler repaid the favour for Fox, as a clever grubber kick down the blind-side led to a try in the corner.

It was France, however, who finished the game the strongest. After a clever kick by Bosc led to a repeat set, France were able to camp on the English line. After quick hands gave them some width, Bosc again chipped over the line and the awkward bounce ended up in Gregory Mounis‘ arms, and he was able to find Cyrille Gossard who dived over from short range.

The spirited second half performance gave the French coach Bobby Goulding something to work for in the coming Four Nations competition, but England thoroughly outclassed them in this one-sided encounter.


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