Winger Anthony Watson scored a brace of tries as England beat France 19-14 in a World Cup warm-up game at Twickenham, CRAIG LEWIS reports.
A relatively experimental England side had been selected for Saturday's encounter, and although they produced some classy periods of play, it was far from a complete performance.
Discipline let England down, with centre Sam Burgess and flank Calum Clark receiving a yellow card on either side of half-time, while the set pieces were scrappy.
France were worthy opponents and made an encouraging start to the encounter as they camped in England territory for the majority of the first five minutes, and finally got rewarded on the scoreboard when scrumhalf Morgan Parra knocked over a penalty in the seventh minute.
However, England took the opportunity to set up an attacking lineout in France’s 22 soon after, and all too easily created a well-worked try that was clinically completed by Watson.
Watson was at it again not even 10 minutes later, finishing off a beautifully worked backline move to take the hosts into a 12-3 lead midway through the first half.
Parra knocked over two more penalties before half-time, though, ensuring there were just three points separating the sides, with Burgess receiving a yellow card just before the break.
Nevertheless, France were unable to take full advantage of their one-man advantage, and just as Burgess prepared to return, winger Jonny May went over for England’s third try as he collected a perfectly timed cross-kick.
France reduced the deficit to five points when flank Fulgence Ouedroaogo scored from a driving lineout on the hour mark as the visitors finally took advantage during a second 10-minute period where they were playing against 14 men.
England ultimately held on for victory, but it was far from a clinical performance.
England – Tries: Anthony Watson (2), Jonny May. Conversions: Owen Farrell (2).
France – Try: Fulgence Ouedroaogo. Penalties: Morgan Parra (3).
England – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Burgess, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Kruis, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Rob Webbber, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.
France – 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Sofiane Guitoune, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Brice Dulin, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedroaogo, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 2 Vincent Debaty.
Subs: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Gael Fickou.
Photo: Glyn Kirck/AFP Photo