Game against France 'learning experience' for England - Simon Middleton

England now have 27 consecutive wins under Simon Middleton
England now have 27 consecutive wins under Simon Middleton

England head coach Simon Middleton feels the recently concluded World Cup game against France will be learning experience for his side.

The red rose team entered the Saturday's encounter against France in Whangarei with 26 consecutive victories but were tested as their first points came in the 25th minute as Emily Scarratt scored their only.

The England centre also kicked the conversion and two more penalties to score all their 13 points before France responded with a touchdown from Gaëlle Hermet but with no further breakthroughs Annick Hayraud's team went down by six points in what was a close encounter.

"It was a really, really tough game, a great physical battle, a real tactical battle and to be honest, it was what I expected," said Middleton.

"I have been saying since I came here, I understand where the sort of 'favourites' tag comes from but too many people are making us out to be too big favourites.

"If that is a quarter final or a knockout game, one bounce of the ball and we would be on the plane on the way home.

"That is what it is going to be like when you get to the biggest games.

"So, hopefully it is a reality check for everybody who is probably making us to be more favourites than we are.

"We played outstandingly well in that game for 55 or 60 minutes and then again at the end to finish the game off, but it just shows the nature of this level of competition.

"If you make a few errors or you don't take your chances then you are one score from potentially being out of the competition.

"That will be the big learning for us, the clinical nature, we had certainly three or four chances that we have to take.

"We miss a couple of chances and we just end up being in a real dog fight."

The win over France meant England now have reached the quarter-finals along with New Zealand and Canada and will be facing South Africa in their final group game in Auckland on 23rd October.