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Clinical France send England home

08 October 2011

  • England crash out of Rugby World Cup against France
  • Clinical French first half proves to be the difference

England 12 France 19

Toby Flood looks on as France celebrate

Photo: Getty Images

England are out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup at the quarter final stage after a dominant first-half performance saw France secure a 19-12 victory at Eden Park, Auckland.

Team Mananager Martin Johnson summed up the mood in the camp, saying: "When we had the ball we looked OK but when we were under pressure they killed us. We were confident that we could do something in the second half, but we made it hard for ourselves going 16-0 down so early.

"We can be proud of our second half display but it wasnt enough. No excuses from us, it was a winnable game. The core of this squad will play at a World Cup again but others won't get that chance."

Action from England against France in the Rugby World Cup quarter final

Photo: Getty Images

Captain Lewis Moody added: "France came out of the blocks in the first half and it cost us massively. Credit to them, we were't strong enough today. It's a hard one to swallow and we will need to regroup."

Les Blues dominated the opening 40 minutes and deservedly went into the break 16-0 up after smart tries from wing Vincent Clerc and full back Maxime Medard, both taking advantage of poor tackling to score.

Kicker Dimitri Yachvili missed both conversions but the Biarritz No. 9 had already slotted two penalties to put Les Blues 6-0 up.

Ben Foden touches down for England's first try

Photo Credit Here

England needed the greatest comeback in their Test history – the previous best was overhauling a 12 point deficit against Australia in 2002 – and although Ben Foden and Mark Cueto scored second-tries, it was not enough.

Full back Foden got England on the board after 55 minutes, collecting Toby Flood’s pass and neatly stepping inside to score for his second try of the competition.

Ben Youngs started the move with a fine break from a quick tap-and-go penalty. Fly half Jonny Wilkinson added the extras with his first kick at goal.

Manu Tuilagi makes a break against France

Photo: Getty Images

Johnson shuffled his back with a last throw of the dice and introdued battering ram Matt Banahan into the centre, replacing Jonny Wilkinson as Flood moved to fly half.

England then ensured a nail-biting finish as Cueto picked up a loose ball from a Flood grubber and dived over with four minutes left on the clock.

Replacement Banahan created the chance with a clean break through midfield but Flood missed the conversion to leave it as a seven-point game and it was too much to do.

France closed out the victory through Morgan Parra who used all of his allotted minute for a 79th minute penalty that he eventually pushed wide, but it didn't matter as Marc Lievremont's troops march on to face Wales in the semi finals next weekend.