By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 17/11/13
England have survived an early scare to defeat France 36-4 and reach a semi-final date with New Zealand.
England started slowly out of the blocks and were caught napping in the first 10 minutes. France, despite losing hooker Kane Bentley early on to injury, surprisingly opened the scoring through Vincent Duport after four minutes. A great offload came to him and he powered over from short distance.
It didn’t take long for England to respond.
A bit of Sam Tomkins magic on 11 minutes put Josh Charnley through out wide and the scores were tied 6-6. The pass looked forward on replay but England was on the board.
They were in again six minutes later. Ryan Hall getting the try after a sublime backline play found him in space on the left wing.
France were trying to stay with the Poms but their discipline was letting them down.
Kallum Watkins set up Charnley for his second try after 24 minutes, and then three minutes later Hall got a double of his own.
France had a couple of half chances but England was showing great line speed and defending strongly to snuff them out.
22-6 ahead at halftime, England extended its lead six minutes after the break through a scrappy Sean O’Loughlin try. The French continued to give away a series of penalties but they managed to keep their line intact.
With seven minutes left Tomkins was sin-binned for slowing down the play the ball after a French break, but it didn’t matter. The heavens opened for Brett Ferres on 76 minutes as the defence parted easily and England had its final try.
France are out of the World Cup after scoring just three tries in four games, a poor effort. England advance to take on New Zealand, an opponent they will struggle with considering recent form. England will need to improve to combat the Kiwis, who have been fair more impressive in their past few matches. A blockbuster match at Wembley awaits.
England 34, Tries: O’Loughlin, Ferres, Hall (2), Charnley (2), Goals: Sinfield (5).
France 6, Tries: Duport, Goals: Bosc.