Les Bleus hold off Poms

France beat England 25-20 in a World Cup warm-up match in Paris on Saturday.

It was sweet revenge for Les Bleus, who lost 19-14 at Twickenham last weekend. While they were outscored two tries to one, a 17-point haul from the boot of flyhalf Frédéric Michalak was enough to secure the win.

Both of England's tries came late in the game, with replacements Nick Easter, Danny Cipriani and Billy Twelvetrees helping to spark the comeback. Ironically, the trio may not be included in England's final 31-man World Cup squad.

While the visitors finished the match strongly, they were awful in the first half.

South African fullback Scott Spedding got France on the board with an early 53m penalty, and three penalties from Michalak saw them lead 12-0 after 26 minutes.

That became 15-6 at the break, following another penalty from Michalak and two from flyhalf George Ford that kept England within striking distance.

But France took a commanding lead seven minutes into the second half when winger Yoann Huget took an inside pass from Michalak and beat four defenders before diving over for the opening try.

Michalak kicked the conversion and added a 65th-minute penalty to make it 25-6.

England finally crossed the line through Cipriani in the 72nd minute, and Jonathan Joseph dotted down six minutes later to reduce the deficit to five.

The visitors pushed hard for another try, but lost possession three minutes after the hooter.

France – Try: Yoann Huget. Conversion: Frédéric Michalak. Penalties: Scott Spedding, Michalak (5).
England – Tries: Danny Cipriani, Jonathan Joseph. Conversions: George Ford (2). Penalties: Ford (2).

France – 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bjastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé (c), 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Subs: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Yannick Nyanga, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Rémi Talès, 23 Gaël Fickou.

England – 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Nick Easter, 21 Danny Care, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP Photo

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