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Home > News > England U20 Women get a French lesson
Your News England U20 Women get a French lesson

France U20s 36 England U20s 22

England Women Under 20s couldn't overcome Les Bleus in Sainte Nazaire on Sunday, suffering a 36-22 defeat in front of a 4500 crowd.

The defeat, however, was a close run affair with only a rousing second half display from the home side proving to be England's undoing.

RFUW Coach Kevin Moggridge said: "This was a very young side that have never experienced anything like this before and they stood up to a really hard challenge.

"The French tested us from the very start of the game, and it was a very physical match but we have learned so many lessons today which, looking at the bigger picture of developing these players for senior England rugby, will be vital.

"We are obviously disappointed to have lost but this is a development programme and that is the most important thing. Most of these players have another two seasons of under 20s rugby to come so they will have learned a lot from this and will come back better rugby players as a result."

Despite the vociferous French crowd, England started well and were the first to put some points on the board. A good scrum in the midfield saw the ball recycled out to Richmond wing Kay Wilson, who then set up Worcester full back Sophie Watkiss to score. Welwyn fly half Emily Scott couldn't however add the conversion.

France drew level much to the delight of the home crowd on 11 minutes when centre Clarisse Fell broke off from a scrum to score. Fly half Pauline Raymond added the conversion to take a 7-5 lead.

On 15 minutes wing Camille Grassineau scored the first of her four tries to hand France a 14-5 lead. Their number eight picked the ball up from the back of a scrum and got the ball out to the backs in the midfield before Grassineau pounced on it to score. Raymond added the conversion.

England, however, stayed in contention with Watkiss claiming her brace of tries on 25 minutes. Some good attacking play saw the ball offloaded to Marlie Packer and then Garnet Mackinder, who set up Watkiss to score in the corner.

Grassineau was back in action for the home side after another good French scrum saw them get the ball out to the pacey winger who ran through a physical tackle to score.

England replied with Lichfield number 8, Harriet Mills, making a good individual break in the midfield to score under the posts. With Scott this time converting England trailed just 19-17 at the break.

Graasineau proved to be England's undoing in the second-half though with two quick tries in succession, before her fellow winger Emilie Blanc added France's sixth touch down of the game on 59 minutes.

England's spirits never dampened though and on 72 minutes Mills claimed her second try. Some good sustained pressure by England saw the ball swung out to the right wing and Wasps' Hannah Field was in a good position to offload to Mills who touched down to make the final score 36-22.

England U20s Squad

15 Sophie Watkiss (Worcester), 14 Kay Wilson (Richmond), 13 Rose Fong (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 12 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), 11 Garnet Mackinder (Lichfield), 10 Emily Scott (Welwyn), 9 Jessie Flowers (Oxford University), 1 Sarah George (University of Exeter), 2 Natalie McClarnon (Saracens), 3 Charlotte Male (C) (Bristol), 4 Amy Millar (Worcester), 5 Stacey Maguire (Lichfield), 6 Marlie Packer (Bristol), 7 Hannah Field (Wasps), 8 Harriet Mills (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Geraldine Thomas (Old Albania Saints), 17 Sasha Acheson (Shelford), 18 Juliet Short (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 19 Nicola Hoole (Bristol), 20 Fiona Davidson (Richmond), 21 Amy Wilson Hardy (Hove), 22 Amber Reed (Bristol)

Tries: Watkiss (2), Mills (2)

Conversions: Scott


Substitutions: Short for Packer (31), Wilson Hardy for Gallagher (45), Hoole for Maguire (55), Acheson for George (62), Davidson for Flowers, Reed for Scott, Thomas for Millar (all 65).

England U20s playing schedule

France U20s v England U20s, March 21st, Sainte Nazaire, LOST 36 22

England U20s v Wales U20s, April 6th, Surrey Sports Park, KO 3pm

Wales U20s v England U20s, May 9th, venue and KO TBC

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