- England Students lost to France Universities 26-15
- Side drew 36-36 with Ireland last weekend
England Students lost their final international of the year 26-15 to French Universities at the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex in Bristol.
England struck almost immediately, courtesy of Newcastle right wing Harry Glover. After kicking off, England secured the ball deep in French territory and following some quick passes from Loughborough scrum-half Sam Pointon and Exeter fly-half Ted Landray, Glover dove into the corner for the try.
England failed to convert and France cut into their lead with a perfectly executed drop goal from fly-half Thomas Darnon. But the men in white responded with three points of their own as Landray kicked over a penalty in the 10th minute.
However, the game suddenly turned and for the rest of the half, the French dominated possession and in the 15th minute, Darnon converted a penalty to pull to within two points.
A terrific run from Darnon shortly after nearly ended in the visitor’s first try, but France knocked on within a metre of the line and England were able to clear it.
The respite did not last, however, and it was only a terrific tackle into touch from Pointon that prevented France from scoring off a break down the right side. England was given a bit of luck then as Darnon missed a penalty, but the French dominance eventually proved to be too much.
The ever-present Darnon rushed free down the left wing and put the ball down for France’s first try – and their first lead.
Darnon missed the conversion, leaving the lead at three points, and England had a chance to draw level a few minutes later but Landray missed a penalty conversion.
After nearly half an hour of French dominance, England finally was able to get past the French 22, securing a five-metre lineout. But France showed themselves to be as strong in defence as they were in attack, forcing a turnover and taking an 11-8 lead into halftime.
England had a slightly better start to the second half, despite struggling with their lineout, and was given a boost when Gerald Le Strat was put in the sin bin.
But the French were unperturbed and asserted their dominance yet again. A crunching tackle from Bath’s inside centre Charlie Dunbar briefly held up a French charge, but after a long goal-line defence, England finally capitulated as substitute Thomas Nordand bulldozed over the line.
France then put the game further out of reach, following a lineout in England territory. The French pack formed a driving maul and travelling a quarter of the pitch with Thibault Ranpa touching down for the try.
With 14 minutes remaining, a Darnon penalty made it 26-8 to France, although England again gained a boost as Jeremy Valencot was sent off for 10 minutes.
England, at last, took advantage, gaining ground thanks to a clever kick ahead from Loughborough sub-Mark Dixon, and after a fierce battle were awarded a penalty try.
But time was against England Students and when the full-time whistle sounded, France were winners by a dominant score of 26-15.