- France record a five-try victory
- Inexperienced England must wait for rematch
England Women Under 20s failed to open their season on a winning note, suffering a 27-0 defeat to France at the Stadium Pierre Brisson in Beauvais today (Saturday).
Amanda Bennett’s young side, which featured four players in the starting line-up making their international debuts, couldn’t cope with the on-form French who punished England for all their mistakes. The defeat now leaves England without a win against France since 2011.
England U20s Head Coach Amanda Bennett said: “Obviously I am disappointed but there are some positives too. A lot of what we have been working on over the last couple of months was put into practice today, and we are going in the right direction. Today was certainly a new experience for several of our players who have never experienced rugby with that ferocity and pace before.
“We now have three weeks to make the step up before our next match about France, and although it is a quick turnaround that’s a good thing. The players are hurting right now and we want them to use that energy and put it right against France. We want another shot at them as soon as possible.”
France put their marker down early on by winning a penalty just five minutes in but England were let off the hook when centre Camille Boudeau failed to convert, setting the tone for her kicks at goal for the rest of the afternoon.
Moments later though, fullback Caroline Bourjard opened the home side’s account with a try on the left wing thanks to a good grubber kick from fly half Camille Imart.
Boudeau couldn’t add the extras but France soon moved into a 10-0 lead when some good ball from a scrum saw Imart and Bourdon get the ball out to wing Meryl Dubertrand.
With the conversion missed once more England found their stride for some time and dominated possession, but in the end it was individual errors that punished the visitors and they couldn’t put the points on the board.
After the restart France lost Dubertrand to the sin-bin but England still couldn’t break their duck. Instead they paid a high price when they were turned over at a lineout and wing Boudeau showed a tremendous turn of pace to outpace England and then offload to try scorer Pauline Bourdon.
England rang the changes as they headed into the final quarter of the game but that didn’t help England claw back the deficit. Instead France ran in two further tries courtesy of Caralie Bertrand and Boudeau.
15 Sydney Gregson (Welwyn, London & South East, Hartpury), 14 Rosemary Kells (Bristol, South West), 13 Abigail Brown (Worcester, South West, Hartpury), 12 Lauren Chenoweth (Worcester, South West), 11 Emily Wood (Worcester, South West, Hartpury), 10 Megan Goddard (Worcester, South West), 9 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester, South West) C, 1 Abbie Parsons (Bristol, South West), 2 Lark Davies (Worcester, Midlands), 3 Catherine Pugh (Lichfield, London & South East), 4 Amy Wigley (Worcester, Midlands, Hartpury), 5 Courtney Gill (Worcester, South West), 6 Francesca Hall (Richmond, London & South East), 7 Lucie Wood (Bristol, South West), 8 Jo Brown (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, North). Replacements: 16 Rebecca Noon (Lichfield, Midlands), 17 Henrietta Burkinshaw (Lichfield, North), 18 Scarlett Cooper-Wall (Loughborough, South West), 19 Emily Underwood (Bristol, South West), 20 Madeleine Lockwood (Lichfield, Midlands), 21 Devon Holt (Bristol, South West), 22 Rebecca Scholes (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, North), 23 Emma Harbage (Lichfield, Midlands)
Replacements: Cooper-Wall for Pugh (56), Scholes for Chenoweth, Holt for Blackburn (both 62), Noon for Davies (66), Harbage for Kells (69), Burkinshaw for Parsons, Lockwood for Wigley (both 71), Underwood for Wood.
15 Caroline Bourjard (RC Chilly Mazarin), 14 Caralie Bertrand (RC Velleronnais), 13 Camille Boudeau (Stade Rennais Rugby), 12 Pauline Bourdon (AS Bayonne), 11 Meryl Dubertrand (RC Lons), 10 Camille Imart (Avenir Fonsorbais Rugby Féminin), 9 Lena Auriol (Blagnac Saint Orens Rugby Féminin), 1 Maelys Traore (Avenir Fonsorbais Rugby Féminin), 2 Agathe Sochat (Stade Bordelais ASPTT), 3 Laura Menetrier (Rugby Sassenage Isére), 4 Laetitia Bobo (Montpellier RC), 5 Chloe Placines (Blagnac Saint Orens Rugby Féminin), 6 Julie Annery (AC Bobigny 93 Rugby), 7 Marina Kerembellec (Stade Bordelais ASPTT)8 Pia Clave Chastang (USA Limoges). Replacements: 16 Laurie Laborie (Avenir Fonsorbais Rugby Féminin), 17 Jasmine Remdana (CSM Gennevillois), 18 Manon Sauvage (RC Chilly Mazarin), 19 Axelle Alaux (Avenir Fonsorbais Rugby Féminin), 20 Emilie Mathieu (Rugby Sassenage Isére), 21 Grace Seraphine Okemba (Stade Rennais Rugby), 22 Ashely Cavalier (RC Chilly Mazarin), 23 Prune Pegot (Avenir Fonsorbais Rugby Féminin)
Tries: Bourjard, Dubertrand, Bourdon, Bertrand, Boudeau
England U20s Fixtures:
February 1st, France Women U20s 27 England Women U20s 0, Stadium Pierre Brisson, Beauvais
February 22nd, England Women U20s v France Women U20s, Esher RFC, KO 2pm