England 36 France 10: Match report
England stepped up their preparations for the end-of-year World Cup with an impressive 36-10 win over France at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday.
England, who are ranked third in the world behind Australia and New Zealand, were 40-4 winners in their previous meeting with the French in Perpignan in October and were coming off the back of a 32-6 win over Wales but they did not have it all their own way and were made to work for their win.
Leeds pair Keara Bennett and Courtney Winfield-Hill made their England debuts after missing the Wales game through illness.
England second-rower Hollie Dodd opened the scoring in the 17th minute after being put through a gap by halfback Georgia Roche and wrong-footing French fullback Elisa Akpa to claim.
The game was still in the balance when winger Caitlin Beevers and Amy Hardcastle scored and a try to France winger Cristina Song Puche five minutes before halftime reduced England's lead to 16-4.
France suffered a blow four minutes into the second half when prop Elodie Pacull was sin-binned for a late tackle and England took advantage when Hardcastle forced her way over for her second try while the visitors were down to 12 players.
Roche then scored from dummy half after winger Leah Burke had been hauled down short of the line before substitute hooker Fanny Ramos went over for France’s second try and Elisa Ciria added the goal.
England finished the game on a high, wrapping up the scoring with two tries in the last six minutes through Roche and centre Fran Goldthorp, and Stanley took her goal tally to four from seven attempts.
England: Tara-Jane Stanley; Leah Burke, Fran Goldthorp, Amy Hardcastle, Caitlin Beevers; Courtney Winfield-Hill, Georgia Roch; Grace Field, Tara Jones, Olivia Wood; Hollie Dodd, Emily Rudge; Jodie Cunningham. Interchange: Shona Hoyle, Keara Bennett, Paige Travis, Vicky Whitfield.
France: Elisa Akpa; Manon Samarra, Margot Canal, Laureane Biville, Christina Song Puche; Alice Varela, Elisa Ciria; Leila Bessahl, Perrine Nontsarrat, Sarah Menaa; Elodie Pacull, Cyndia Mansard; Gaelle Alvherne. Interchange: Mailys Borak, Dorine Samarra, Anais Fourcroy, Fanny Ramos.
Photos: England RL