England and France were left in a memorable 9-9 stalemate after 80 minutes back in 1985, writes JEREMY PROOME.
The two European powerhouses revisited their rivalry for the opening match of the Five Nations tournament, and while the first match of the competition couldn’t produce a superior side between the two, it was a great comeback by the English, which eventually saw them go through to the final.
England were under immense pressure to score some tries, as they had been unable to cross the opposition’s line in a Five Nations match since March 1982.
The Twickenham crowd weren’t in for any try-scoring action this time either, but were taken to the edge of their seats with a last-minute penalty by Rob Andrew.
Andrew, who had been battered throughout the match, kept his senses and nerve to rescue what looked like a lost cause.
In the 15th and 23rd minute of the game, Andrew put through a penalty and drop goal respectively to put his side ahead. France then took control of the game, with Jean-Patrick Lescarboura putting through three-successful drop goals to put Les Bleus 9-6 up.
The battle of the boot seemed to have been won by the French, but Andrew was given the chance to save the match when French indiscipline forced Irish referee David Burnett to re-award a penalty after the French failed to retreat 10m.
Andrew was able to slot the 45m penalty in the final minute to keep England’s Five Nations hope alive with a 9-9 draw to the spirited French side.
England team (1985) – 15 Chris Martin, 14 Simon Smith, 13 Kevin Simms, 12 Paul Dodge (c), 11 Rory Underwood, 10 Rob Andrew, 9 Richard Harding, 8 Bob Hesford, 7 David Cooke, 6 Jon Hall, 5 Wade Dooly, 4 John Orwin, 3 Gary Pearce, 2 Steve Brain, 1 Phil Blakeway.
Subs: 16 Mike Teague, 17 Clive Woodward, 18 Huw Davies, 19 Richard Hill, 20 Andy Simpson, 21 Austin Sheppard.
France team (1985) – 15 Serge Blanco, 14 Patrick Esteve, 13 Philippe Sella, 12 Didier Codorniou, 11 Bernard Lavigne, 10 Jean-Patrick Lescarboura, 9 Jerome Gallion, 8 Dominique Erbani, 7 Laurent Rodriguez, 6 Jacques Gratton, 5 Jean Condom, 4 Francis Haget, 3 Jean-Pierre Garuet-Lempirou, 2 Philippe Dintrans (c), 1 Pierre Dospital.
Subs: 16 H. Herries, 17 Pierre-Edouard Detrez, 18 Jean-Charles Orso, 19 Pierre Berbizier, 20 Laurent Pardo, 21 Guy Laporte.
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