By John Davidson, Date: 12/11/17 (Photo Credit NRLPhotos)
England has continued its domination of France, notching a 36-6 win over their old rivals in their World Cup encounter in Western Australia.
As part of the double-header England took on France after Ireland beat Wales. England needed the win to secure second place in Group A, and it did so thanks to an impressive first half. The French are on the plane home after suffered three losses in a row.
Wayne Bennett’s charges blew their European neighbours away early, racing to a 26-0 lead. France only managed one try in response and then Jermaine McGillvary scored two tries in the second half. Gareth Widdop, playing at fullback, was exceptional while Kevin Brown also caught the eye in his first-ever World Cup appearance.
Brown combined well with Luke Gale, while the service from James Roby at nine was excellent. Jonny Lomax and Sam Burgess could come back into the side for the quarter-final with Papua New Guinea. Widdop got the first try, with Stefan Ratchford, James Graham, Mark Percival and John Bateman all following on the scoresheet in the first 40 minutes. Benjamin Garcia hit back with a try, before McGillvary got his double. England lost its way at times in the second half with constant substitutions and positional changes having an impact on the side’s fluency.
Despite the result England coach Wayne Bennett was disappointed with how his team failed to go on with its electric first half, where it racked up 26 points, in the second period.
“It was the same result as last week really,” he said.
“We scored six points last week and 12 points this week (in the second half) after laying a really good foundation. It’s not a concern yet. I don’t want to take away from France’s effort, I’m just talking about our effort. The second half wasn’t as good as the first half.”
Bennett stressed England’s problem of staying focused can be fixed, but maintained he is not looking past the quarter-final stage.
“The road ahead for us is going to be short if we don’t get these two halves of football right,” he said.
“My major concern is us right now. I’m not thinking much further than getting through today and we got through it with no injuries, which is good.
“We may have not have anymore time to get it right. It’s not something that’s going to take a lot of research and a lot of effort to get it right. It’s going to take a bit of discipline and appreciate what gave you the 26 points in the first place.”
France coach Aurelien Cologni cut a frustrated figure after the game.
“We started fairly bad, our completion was too poor,” he said.
“The effort was there and we reacted after 15 or 20 minutes but that’s too late. We finished very strong , we showed good spirit and I appreciate that. They gave the maximum to the end.”
Tries: G. Widdop, S. Ratchford, J. Graham, M. Percival, J. Bateman, J. McGillvary 2. Goals: G. Widdop 4.
Try: B. Garcia. Goal: L. Albert.