- England Women beat France by 10-points in Esher
- Laybourn, Watmore and Davidson with the tries
England Women 23 France Women 13
England Women kicked off their Autumn International Series with a hard-fought 23-13 win against a strong France side.
Tries from Ruth Laybourn, debutant Joanne Watmore and Fiona Davidson helped England to the win while Amber Reed, also making her first appearance, kept the scoreboard ticking over with two penalties and a conversion.
France opened up the scoring three minutes in with a well taken penalty but England hit back almost immediately with a penalty of their own, converted by inside centre Reed.
With eight on the clock France’s early pressure was rewarded when full back Jessy Trémoulière went over in the corner and fly half Aurélie Bailon added the extras.
A second Reed penalty after 18 minutes made the scoreline 10-6 and France were reduced to 14 when Elodie Guiglion was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.
England made the extra woman count just before the break when wing Ruth Laybourn showed an explosive turn of pace to race past the French defence after excellent work by Danielle Waterman in the build-up to make the score 11-10.
England extended their lead early in the second half when Joanne Watmore, fresh onto the pitch, showed strength and pace to beat the French back line before Reed again added the extras to put England eight points ahead.
As France started to apply some pressure, England flanker Heather Fisher infringed in front of the referee and was given a yellow card. With the home side down to 14 France enjoyed more possession and Bailon was on hand to score a penalty to make it 18-13.
With Fisher back on the pitch England reasserted some authority and got their third try through replacement scrum half Fiona Davidson who picked up a loose ball and raced through unopposed to make the score 23-18 and seal the win.
Focus now switches to world champions New Zealand and the three match series which kicks off in Esher on November 23.
England Women starting XV
15 Danielle Waterman (VC) (Worcester), 14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 13 Claire Allan (Richmond), 12 Amber Reed (Bristol), 11 Ruth Laybourn (Darlington), 10 Alice Richardson (Richmond), 9 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
1 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 2 Emma Croker (Richmond), 3 Kate Newton (Bristol), 4 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 5 Emily Braund (Lichfield), 6 Heather Fisher (Worcester), 7 Jane Leonard (Wasps), 8 Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield)
16 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), 17 Rochelle Clark (Worcester), 18 Laura Keates (Worcester), 19 Isabelle Noel-Smith (Bristol), 20 Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), 21 Fiona Davidson (Richmond), 22 Ceri Large (Worcester), 23 Joanne Watmore (Worcester)
Tries: Ruth Laybourn 1, Joanne Watmore 1, Fiona Davidson 1
Conversions: Amber Reed 1
Penalties: Amber Reed 2
Substitutions: Joanne Watmore on for Ruth Laybourn, Victoria Fleetwood on for Emma Croker, Rochelle Clark on for Rosemarie Crowley, Laura Keates on for Kate Newton, Isabelle Noel-Smith on for Jane Leonard, Ceri Large on for Amber Reed , Tamara Taylor on for Emily Braund, Fiona Davidson on for Natasha Hunt.
England Women Autumn International Series
- Nov 23, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Esher RFC - KO 730pm (Live on http://rfu.com/womensrugbyportal/matchstreaming)
- Nov 27, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Aldershot Army Rugby Stadium - KO 730pm. (Live on http://rfu.com/womensrugbyportal/matchstreaming)
- Dec 1, 2012 - England v New Zealand - Twickenham Stadium - KO 5pm (Live on Sky Sports 1HD)
- Tickets for England’s Autumn International Series are available through www.ticketmaster.co.uk, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for Under 16s. This excludes the England v New Zealand game at Twickenham on December 1st as there is free entry to the stadium following the conclusion of the men’s match.