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Monday Aug 17, 2015

England get the better of France with some great tries at Twickenham

England get the better of France with some great tries at Twickenham
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England scored three top quality tries as they beat France 19-14 in their Rugby World Cup warmup match at Twickenham on Saturday. Anthony Watson scored a brace, while Sam Burgess had an impressive debut, despite being yellow carded.

Henry Slade and former League star Burgess formed a midfield partnership, both making their debuts but contributing to some well worked tries, particularly the second for Watson.

The first was more of an individual effort, with the Bath flyer standing up his opposition number and rounding him for a brilliant wingers try.

By the time Jonny May scored in the second half, England had impressed in the warmup game that will give them some confidence going into their next meeting with France, who themselves will look to get combinations right and build on some of the positives from Twickenham.

England had two players sinbinned as first Burgess, then Calum Clark, were shown yellow.

Fulgence Ouedraogo powered over for a try for France, but it wasn’t enough to take the win.

“We are disappointed because we came here to win. We had our chances and we had a lot of pressure on their line. But we did not finish them off as well as we should have,” said Ouedraogo post match.

England Skipper Tom Wood said that the victory was satisfying while challenging.

“It’s good to start the three warm-up games with a win, especially at Twickenham. We knew France would come looking to give us plenty of problems and it was as tough as I thought it would be.”

The two sides meet again in Paris next weekend, where France will hope to build momentum going into a World Cup that sees them up against Ireland, Italy, Canada and Romania in Pool D.

25 Comments

  • stroudos
    11:29 AM 21/08/2015

    Refreshing to see some praise for Haskell. In my opinion, he's under-rated, mostly I think because many fans just don't like him, can't get over "The Brand" stuff and disapprove of his media stuff and self-promotion. I say he's a hard-working athlete with a great work ethic. He's also very versatile, one of the few England players I think that can play well in all three back row positions, which makes him a very handy player to have for the world cup. Maybe he'll only appear as an impact replacement; in actual fact he seems to relish that role.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:24 AM 21/08/2015

    Cheers Dan, very interesting. On this evidence I say sod it, let's go with Burgess and Slade!

    Reply
  • stroudos
    11:37 AM 20/08/2015

    Totally agree with Reality's comment on Clark. Should never have been allowed to pull on a rugby shirt again. I don't care how wel he plays, I don't want to see him playing for England.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    6:16 PM 18/08/2015

    Read this: http://www.rugbyworld.com/countries/england-countries/analysis-how-centres-sam-burgess-and-henry-slade-combined-for-england-47362

    Reply
  • katman
    11:05 AM 18/08/2015

    France's midfield was pedestrian. A guy like Fofana makes such a difference on attack.

    Reply
  • felipeg
    9:25 AM 18/08/2015

    Dusautoir instead of Ouedraogo, Bastareaud-Fofana instead of Dumoulin-Lamerat and Huget - Nakaitaci instead of Dulin-Guitoune... That would be a pretty strong french side...if they manage to play together. Proud that a belgian guy was one of the best player on the field :-) Didn't understand the first yellow card... Could have been a very, very different game should the french have scored 14 points instead of 3 in the first 7 minutes when they had 85% possession and territory. Dont know if the french front row was so good given that the english wasnt at all. And just the opposite for the backs!

    Reply
  • rich_w
    8:55 AM 18/08/2015

    One thing you cannot argue against Burgess is his physical attributes, the man is a machine. I'm super impressed by him in general, a RL forward only 10 months into union, and handling all the media hype. BUT... Think he'll be a better 6, bath will keep playing him there, he'll learn the lineouts etc and then he'll be a wrecking ball.

    Reply
  • oliver
    8:49 AM 18/08/2015

    I thought that was encouraging for France, and I felt we were a bit unlucky with some "almost-tries". Especially Atonio's and also Dulin right at the start. Picamole's return did us a world of good. So on the whole I want to stay positive and see what happens next week. On the other hand it's becoming a habit for France to get close but not quite there.... As for England, I was very impressed by the back play and also the decision not to kick and go into touch during the first half. Showed confidence and ambition. They should beware of stupid mistakes and discipline problems though, as yes, the laws of the game do apply to the home team too. Slade was very lucky not to get a card, we've seen a lot of reds for in the air tackles lately. Which is probably why the ref felt he had to give Burgess a card a little later. Rendez-vous au Stade de France samedi!!

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    8:14 AM 18/08/2015

    Watson's finish for that first try was insane. Can you imagine Cuthbert or North being able to catch that from a standing start? Because I seriously can't. Burgess looked powerful but I don't think he's quite there yet. Slade was a class act though. Picamoles was an absolute monster for France.

    Reply
  • kadova
    11:34 PM 17/08/2015

    Totally agree with you. But i don't know what argument between Lagisquet and FTD ?

    Reply
  • 45678
    11:16 PM 17/08/2015

    Let's face it, if we progress beyond the qf, then games stop being expansive affairs and teams look to forwards and territory. Ford can kick and he is an ok defender. What he does have is a game that can open up defences, which Farrell will never do outside a set play. England have to be pragmatic enough to think if they can get to the semis and beyond then they are in with a shout if nz don't bring their A game. More crucial to England than choice of 10 is Ben Morgan being fit and taking a sensible option at hooker I.e Jamie George. Hartley is a big loss, so we need a hooker that can throw in and a solid scrum. mobility is secondary. Morgan adds dynamism that vunipola just doesn't have in the absence of other ball carriers

    Reply
  • drg
    10:58 PM 17/08/2015

    Would you say Ford is first choice for a RWC? It happens every time, we all get excited when the world cup comes along, but every year myself and others, end up getting cynical and asking ourselves why we look forward to it... We rarely see anything exciting in terms of play styles, it's invariably the most conservative boring games out there... Up until about 15 seconds ago, I'd have said Ford should be first choice, but then you pointed out Farrell can defend and kick... is that what's needed in a World cup? Excuse my cynicism, I love exciting rugby as much as the next person, it's just I amaze myself how often I and everyone looks forward to exciting RWC rugby which rarely happens... Other than edge of seat "we HAVE to win" kind of stuff... (An ugly win is still a win..)

    Reply
  • 45678
    10:45 PM 17/08/2015

    If a punch was thrown after an infringement occurred then the referee would definitely have pursued tmo referral. Both an intentional trip and a punch can warrant a yellow card, so it was odd to pass over. I also wasn't sure that the tmo should have overlooked what appeared to be a clear headbutt by picamoles on Farrell/ slade Regarding Farrell, he seemed to take a lot of passes standing still. He can obviously defend and kick, but his attacking play is well short of ford. He doesn't seem to be capable of playing off the cuff and becomes a little redundant after a couple of phases. Ford is definite first choice

    Reply
  • vladimir
    9:56 PM 17/08/2015

    People do often focus their fire on PSA, but imo the real man leading the circus from behind is Lagisquet (second coach). When you look at the team (a big big pack, unimaginative halves (Tales, Tillous borde,...), big centres and no, absolutely no combinative or game plan for the backs) is exactly like the tanky, and efficient, Biarritz ten years ago. A team coached by... Lagisquet. There was also an argument between Lagisquet and Trinh-Duc 4 years ago.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:56 PM 17/08/2015

    Totally agree with you both on the sad 'semi demise' of French rugby at the moment... The French in the past for me have always been either: 1) A great team that is on a winning streak 2) A hideously bad team that will still destroy you in the 70th minute onwards... They've never been a guaranteed win team.. The guaranteed win games always resulted in some sort of strange upset with the French winning... What are the views on PSA? I heard he's off after the RWC, is this a good thing for France? I feel he's done them a terrific injustice with not picking FTD and Parra... at least picking them would give France a decent high percentage winning platform to start experimenting off...

    Reply
  • drg
    7:51 PM 17/08/2015

    I was surprised by May and Goode.. I think Goode played very well. May had dancing feet and gained some yards, but I can't help feel he is a little bit of a fish out of water. Seems he's got some mega skills that translate into something very real on the pitch, but he's really lacking in something else.. some player awareness of those players around him? Actually it seems to me he's got that skill that some people have in club rugby where they can dance and weave around everyone so they go a bit one man army and ignore those around. I think May has done it in the past where he has looked a bit greedy and not given it when he should have done - not sure about this game though. Burgess did well, but again he looks lacking in that sort of 'natural centre' kind of attributes... Someone (probably Bath coach) described him as playing like a back row in the backs... (strange that... being a bath back row player...).. and I do somewhat agree, he has the pace, he has good ball control and he has the defence... but there is that sort of missing 'gift' that us forwards don't seem to possess that 'you' backs do... Clarks card did seems soft, but then, grab the neck and you run that risk... so maybe it's a fair call - further details on Clark are below Reality... The trip... idk, looked to me that a fair innocuous incident, could be deemed as clumsy/reckless if it was needed to be looked at, but I don't think it's worth the time looking at, nor the yellow/red that would ensue... that being said, the replays were very short and I'd be happy to look at it again.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:44 PM 17/08/2015

    It's really difficult, I don't really want to see referees giving soft cards because of something that happened in the past, because in reality the past in the past and what happened should have been dealt with properly back then..... ...that being said, I watched that video again and it's pretty horrific... I mean I remember it happening but not in such vivid detail.. the referee blows the whistle signifying a stop in play, the players are all getting to their feet from a pile up and he starts bending and *boom*... totally unnecessary and apparently unjustified (I mean that in the sense that I can't see it even being argued as an overreaction retaliation, it looks entirely unprovoked)... Then of course comes the argument that 'well he was young, give him a second chance etc'... I'm all for second chances, but isn't there a certain level of 'evil' where someone needs to turn around and say "but does he deserve to represent xyz after that evil?"

    Reply
  • reality
    7:11 PM 17/08/2015

    After seeing Clarke purposefully break Rob Hawkins' arm I can safely say that he's the biggest scumbag around at professional level, and even if it was a harsh yellow card I'm delighted to see him get it. He should have been banned for life, so at least this is a bit of justice, however small.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    7:00 PM 17/08/2015

    I'm sure I've said it to you before, but it's really sad where French rugby is these days. The fans deserve better, and world rugby is poorer without an exciting French national team.

    Reply
  • colombes
    6:23 PM 17/08/2015

    Since few months, i unfortunately tend to agree with you. The freezing strategy of PSA is just as cold as his relations with the LNR (french pro clubs). It's just like if he decided "ok, it's my last year, i can't work with my players more than 1 month in a row since 3 years, i can't settle creative solutions, let's go for a steel tank". Kind of things he can't say to french journalists and fans. I've stopped to hope anything from PSA, but if he can stop to change his team every 2 weeks and install a strong axis: ---a big pack presided by Dusautoir---Parra/FTD---Basta/Fofana---Huget it would be a minimum.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    5:43 PM 17/08/2015

    I'm not sure what France got of this game. For England at least, they learned a few things about their mostly 2nd/3rd choice forwards (a bit inexperienced and definitely not as strong as the 1st choice players), and a bit more about some new backline combinations. I thought Slade, who can cover flyhalf too, may have played himself into the squad. Burgess will make the cut if Lancaster wants a true impact sub - but I'd be pretty surprised if he started any of the big games. He's still a novice centre, a huge risk to expose him against the top sides. But France, I think we all know they plan to select a monster pack, and use that as their base. Parra and Trin-Duc? We know these guys. A random selection of players 11-15, doing predictable rugby stuff? As you say, pretty normal for the PSA era. On the other hand, playing a conservative forward-dominated game has won world cups in the past. I think we got a bit more of a taste this weekend of how SA will play in the World Cup, and if France's half-backs are in good form, kicking well and controlling the game, they won't be easy to beat. Maybe that's been PSA's plan all along?

    Reply
  • colombes
    4:48 PM 17/08/2015

    For both teams, this match is a good summary of their performance since 1 or 2 years. England trying to settle an attacking game and achieving some flashs of brilliance, followed by youth mistakes and repetitive indiscipline. Very french isn't it? I discovered Slade and Burgess, and i was personally more interested by the first. Ford is better than Farrell, any day. A clumsy France often lacking of killer instinct and sometimes too concentrated on the bish-bash and scrum destruction. But there is clear room of improvement if PSA can install Parra-FTD and stop his obsession to test centres on wings, and vice versa.

    Reply
  • colombes
    4:29 PM 17/08/2015

    I think Clark yellow card was more about refs testing the irb recommendations in term of high tackles or dangerous clear-outs than his reputation. On the trip, i guess the ref didin't want to lose time with another tv check, but the ball was already out.

    Reply
  • mitch_tickler
    4:16 PM 17/08/2015

    England backs were impressive but the England forwards were a just notch or two above rubbish. Discipline & the England scrum will need to improve...

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    2:36 PM 17/08/2015

    There's that old cliche; "Forwards win games, backs determine by how much". Think it's safe to say that this game was an exception to that. I know this was very much an experimental, 2nd string-ish side but the way our forwards were bullied in the set piece and at the breakdown in that 2nd half was pretty worrying. I don't think this is Luke-Cowan Dickie's moment quite yet. Tom Wood showed why he shouldn't be captain turning down that 3 points towards the end of the game. Haskell did himself some favours by getting two turnovers at crucial moments. Mako V was pretty awesome in the loose, if still shaky at scrum time. One will hope Corbisiero will eventually find his form and sort out the scrum. It's an odd day when the English forwards fail but the backs shine. Props to Burgess, he really made his presence felt, especially in defence. Still don't think he should be in the squad though, not convinced he would have effect on the likes of NZ or SA. Slade however, you would have thought that was his 50th cap and not his 1st. Farrell seems to have found his mojo again. Hell, even May and Goode did well! Watson is a real bright prospect. Also, am I the only one who thinks that Clark's yellow card was a bit soft? Can't help but feel that reputation didn't do him any favours there. And what do people reckon of that trip? Should that have been looked at or as the ball went out beforehand it doesn't matter?

    Reply


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