England got off to an early start in their Quarter Final clash with France on Saturday night in Paris with this try by left wing Josh Lewsey, scored after only 78 seconds.
With an 80 000 strong crowd, probably being divided equally between English and French supporters, England started well when Gomersall chipped ahead for Lewsey to chase. Lewsey himself, who timed his run perfectly, would have been as shocked as everyone when French fullback Damien Traille hesitated and let the ball bounch up straight into Lewsey’s arms.
Traille looked like he was waiting for the ball to go over the touch line, but, as we know in rugby, you can never rely on the bounce of the ball. Lewsey grabbed it and stormed over the top of the fullback to score the try, getting up to give him a cheeky little tap on the head afterwards, almost saying ‘You messed up mate’.
Great start to England. The rest of the game was played at a high tempo with good pace, but it soon turned into a game of ping pong, with neither side willing to chance their arm and have a crack at spreading the ball wide.
In the end, this was France’s downfall in my opinion. 2003 World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson put England into the lead with 6 minutes left after France were penalised for a high tackle on Jason Robinson.
Three minutes later, Wilkinson did what he does best, and slotted an excellent 35 meter drop-goal to seal the victory, thus knocking out the host nation and putting his team into their second consecutive World Cup final.
14-9 to England