Rugby World Cup: England edge out France 13-7 to maintain winning streak

England hold off France fightback to win
England hold off France fightback to win
©World Rugby

France 7-13 England, Whangarei

Emily Scarratt kicked all 13 points as England managed to hold off France with a 13-7 victory in their second Pool C clash in the ongoing Rugby World Cup in Whangarei.

The result meant England now have nine points from two games as they consolidated the top position while France are at second place with six points. The red rose team also extended their winning streak to 27 games.

The game also saw England captain Sarah Hunter as she made her 137th appearance making her the joint highest capped player for her country.

England went attacking early in the game but firm defence from France kept them scoreless in the initial phase of the game. France had an early setback as Laure Sansus was forced to leave the field in the 12th minute and six minutes later Romane Menager appeared unconscious at a ruck.

The game continued to be scoreless as Abbie Ward was held up over the tryline by French defence but eventually the red rose team opened their account as Harrison and Scarratt combined before the latter eventually went over the line. Scarratt converted her own try to provide England a 0-7 lead by the 25th minute.

Nevertheless, it was not a free scoring option for England like the previous encounter as Maelle Filopon clamped them from securing their second try. With the break approaching repeating infringements from France allowed Scarratt to slot her maiden penalty goal as they completed the opening half with a 0-10 lead.

The trend continued in the second half as France, who themselves were desperate to open the account continued to frustrate England and in the 55th minute Hunter was replaced by Hannah Botterman. Another France offside in the 61st minute allowed England's on-field captain Scarratt to slot a three-pointer to extend their lead to 0-13.

The first response from France came in the 63rd minute as a cross kick from Drouin allowed Joanna Grisez to race through before she offloaded to Gaelle Hermet for their opening try. Drouin kicked the conversion as the gap between the sides came down to six points.

France were desperate for a late flourish as Vernier raced across in the 74th minute but a knock on from Marine Menager meant England held on to their six point lead as they defeated France for the 11th consecutive time.

Team line up:

France: Jacquet; Grisez, Filopon, Vernier, Boulard; Drouin, Sansus; Deshaye, Sochat, Joyeux, Ferer (capt), Fall, Escudero, Mayans, R Menager.

Reserves: Touye, Lindelauf, Khalfaoui, N'Diaye, Hermet, Bourdon, Queyroi, M Menager.

England: Kildunne; Thompson, Scarratt, Rowland, MacDonald; Harrison, Infante; Cornborough, Cokayne, Bern, Aldcroft, Ward, Matthews, M Packer, Hunter (capt).

Reserves: Powell, Botterman, Muir, O'Donnell, Cleall, L Packer, Aitchison, Dow.