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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Monday, March 12th 2018

Heartbreak for Bristol Ladies quartet as last-gasp France down Red Roses

Amber Reed started in midfield while Caity Mattinson, Izzy Noel-Smith and Lagi Tuima were among the replacements, as England Women suffered a late defeat against France, going down 18-17 in Grenoble on Saturday.

Both teams came into the game off the back of perfect records having won three out of three with try bonus-points to sit on 15 points coming into the fixture.

England spent the opening exchanges inside the French half and were rewarded when some neat handling was finished off by wing Abigail Dow as Les Bleus conceded a try for the first time in the tournament - her eighth try in five appearances.

In front of an impassioned 17,440 crowd backing the hosts, France responded as Jessy Trémoulière went in out wide, but she was unable add the conversion to her score.

Some French pressure before the break saw fly half Caroline Drouin cross as they took a 10-7 lead into half-time.

England's second came from a superbly managed driving maul from a line out, a key weapon all night as hooker Amy Cokayne dotted down from five metres out.

France full back Trémoulière knocked over a penalty to bring the game to within a point as England led 14-13 with 25 minutes to go.

However, despite a huge defensive effort from the Res Roses, as well as a Katy Daley-Mclean penalty, Trémoulière broke through with two minutes to go to snatch the victory by a point.

“We showed an amazing amount of character in what was an unbelievable environment to play on," said head coach Simon Middleton.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the character the players showed, but we just weren’t good enough on the night.

“A fantastic occasion and a great game. Fair play to France, they never gave up, they hung in right to the end which we knew they would.

“We weren’t at our best tonight, we know that - but we still created enough chances to win the game and I think that’s what we’re more disappointed with than anything – that we created chances and didn’t take them."

Teams:
England: 15. Ellie Kildunne, 14. Abigail Dow, 13. Rachael Burford, 12. Amber Reed, 11. Danielle Waterman, 10. Katy Daley-Mclean, 9. Leanne Riley; 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Amy Cokayne, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Abbie Scott, 5. Tamara Taylor, 6. Poppy Cleall, 7. Marlie Packer, 8. Sarah Hunter.
Replacements: 16. Lark Davies, 17. Rochelle Clark, 18. Justine Lucas, 19. Rowena Burnfield, 20. Izzy Noel-Smith, 21. Caity Mattinson, 22. Lagi Tuima, 23. Charlotte Pearce.

France: 15. Jessy Trémoulière, 14. Caroline Boujard, 13. Carla Neisen, 12. Jade Le Pesq, 11. Cyrielle Banet, 10. Caroline Drouin, 9. Pauline Bourdon, 1. Caroline Thomas, 2. Agathe Sochat, 3. Julie Duval, 4. Safi N'Diaye, 5. Audrey Forlani, 6. Marjorie Mayans, 7. Gaëlle Hermet (cap), 8. Romane Ménager
Replacements: 16. Miléna Soloch, 17. Lise Arricastre, 18. Patricia Carricaburu, 19. Céline Ferer, 20. Fiona Lecat, 21. Yanna Rivoalen, 22. Camille Boudaud, 23. Marine Ménager.

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