- France U20s run in eight tries
- Young England side look to rebuild ahead of April clash
Photo: Getty Images
England Women Under 20s experienced a tough learning curve as their French counterparts ran in eight tries in a 50-0 victory at the Suzan Lenglen Stadium in Paris.
England, fielding a young side with 12 players in the 22 making their England U20 bow, struggled against a much more experienced French outfit who could boast ten players with U20 and international sevens experience in their starting XV.
French No. 8 Sophie Pin was in formidable form, while the likes of Camille Cabalou and Aissetou Diallo caused England problems all over the park.
Speaking after the match, England Women U20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “France were an extremely athletic and powerful side. They had lots of pace, executed their off-loading with precision and their support work was outstanding. They made it extremely hard for us to defend but the players have learned so much today about international rugby and that will only benefit them in the long term.
“Round two against France will come in April on our turf and we are already relishing the opportunity to play them again. We know we have to make some big improvements in terms of our physicality and also developing a much more powerful game. We have also got to be more effective at our line-outs and scrums. Our attitude however was good and the team never gave up. Despite the score they kept their heads up and kept digging until the very end.”
After an early missed penalty for centre Cabalou, France put their first points on the board with a eighth minute penalty and then had another chance at goal on 13 minutes but Cabalou’s kick went astray.
A French line-out in England’s 22 17 minutes in saw powerful No. 8 Pin make a great break. Despite her power she was pulled down just short of the try-line but prop Arkya Ait Lahbib was in support and she muscled her way over to score. Cabalou converted and then added a second penalty moments later to hand France a 13-0 lead.
Nearing the half hour mark, some good work by France at the breakdown saw Pin in the thick of it before the ball was moved out wide, with four great offloads ending with wing Diallo showing her speed to sprint past England full-back Georgia Peedle.
Cabalou couldn’t make the conversion but soon France had established a 23-0 lead when an error by England saw Lauriane Lissar pick up a loose ball and run in for a soft try. Diallo then rounded off the first half with her second touchdown just before the break when some missed tackles by England saw the wing side step her way through England’s defence and charge 60 metres up-field to score. With Cabalou making the conversion France went into half time with a healthy 30-0 lead.
The one way traffic from France continued in the second half with immediate pressure on England’s line after the break. England held firm but it came at a cost with prop Catherine Pugh taking a heavy knock and leaving the field while fellow front row Mica Evans was also out of action for some time. France made the most of their advantage and fly-half Julie Billes cut a good line to score near the posts.
In-form centre Cabalou added to her tally with her first try with Billes and Pin at the heart of the action before an offload to Cabalou, who finished off the move with a try on the right wing.
As France entered the final period of the match, England rallied hard to keep their rivals at bay but they couldn’t stop the onslaught and France ran in a further two tries, courtesy of Morgane Peyronnet and Audrey Boniface.
England Women U20s
15 Georgia Peedle (Saracens), 14 Rachel Jones (Lichfield), 13 Hannah Edwards (Wasps), 12 Louise Dennis (Worcester), 11 Rebecca Hughes (Bristol), 10 Lauren Cattell (Chesham), 9 Fiona Davidson (Richmond - Capt); 1 Mica Evans (Saracens), 2 Emily Hatherall (Worcester), 3 Catherine Pugh (Rochford Hundred), 4 Ellen Gattlin (Saracens), 5 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 6 Fiona Fletcher (Lichfield - Vice-Capt), 7 Megan Oaten (Bristol), 8 Katie Turnbull (Thornbury)
Replacements: 16 Charlotte Notman (Penryn), 17 Amy Needham (Paviors), 18 Courtney Gill (Plymouth Albion), 19 Carys Williams (Lichfield), 20 Bianca Blackburn (Gloucester), 21 Megan Goddard (Hartpury), 22 Sian McGuinness (Tyldesley)
Replacements: Needham for Pugh (3), Notman for Hatherall, McGuinness for Hughes (both 60), Goddard for Cattell (67), Williams for Oaten (67), Blackburn for Davidson (70), Gill for Gatlin (70)
15 Maeva N’Diaye (La Valette), 14 Aissetou Diallo (Maison-Laffitte), 13 Morgane Peyronnet (Fonsorbes), 12 Camille Cabalou (Tarbes Pyrénées Rugby), 11 Audrey Boniface (Tarbes Pyrénées Rugby), 10 Julie Billes (USAP), 9 Marie Menanteau (Romagnat), 1 ArkyaAit Lahbib (Stade Rennais Rugby), 2 Wendy Divoux (La Valette), 3 Eva Biaudis (AC Bobigny 93) (C), 4 Pauline Landreau (Fonsorbes), 5 Marine Sudre (Fonsorbes), 6 Marion Peyronnet (Fonsorbes), 7 Lauriane Lissar (AS Bayonne), 8 Sophie Pin (La Valette)
Replacements: 16 Karen Turpe (Ovalie Caennaise), 17 Lilian Ferreira Da Silva (Saint Orens), 18 Margaux Deylaud (Saint Orens), 19 Barbara Sineux (Stade Rennais Rugby), 20 Elodie Fazio (Sassenage), 21 Maiwenn Le Guevel(Stade Rennais Rugby), 22 Estelle Pocrena (AS Bayonne), Marjorie Vaz (Romagnat).
Tries: Ait Lahbib, Diallo (2), Lissar, Billas, Cabalou, Peyronnet, Boniface
Conversions: Cabalou (2)
Penalties: Cabalou (2)
Referee: Christine Bigaran
England Women U20s 2011/2012 Fixtures:
March 11, France U20 v England U20, Suzan Lenglen Stadium, Paris, LOST 50-0
April 4, England U20 v France U20, Moulton College, KO 2.30pm
April 7, England U20 v France U20, Moulton College, KO 1pm
July, Dates TBC, England U20s will play the USA in two test matches, Moulton College