England v France RLWC2021

England has continued its dominance over France, registering a 42-18 World Cup win at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The French have not beaten Great Britain or England since 1990, and were unable to break that streak in the Group A clash.

Les Bleus were brave and committed, but the hosts grounded out a six-try victory after withstanding some solid Gallic first-half pressure.

England went close to opening the scoring from a Marc Sneyd kick in the third minute, but Sneyd knocked on when trying to regather his bomb.

It mattered not as soon after another Sneyd kick caused havoc, and this time Ryan Hall crossed off the back of it.

Sneyd added the extras to give the hosts an early 6-0 lead.

Soon after Hall was in again, this time a great pass from George Williams to Herbie Farnworth ending with the winger touching down easily.

Sneyd added two more points to make it 12-0.

An error from Morgan Escare at the back gifting England more excellent field position, but this time France managed to keep them out.

England’s third try came through Luke Thompson, after a lovely break through the middle from Victor Radley.

Sneyd made no mistake in front and the hosts were cruising at 18-0.

But in the 29th minute France hit back through Arthur Mourgue. After Sneyd spilled his kick backwards, Mourgue was presented with a gift for a try.

The halfback converted his own score to cut it back to 18-6 and give his team hope.

In the 32nd minute Eloi Pelissier burrowed over from short range to score and the comeback was on.

Morgue’s conversion made it 18-12 and the French were suddenly firing.

Six points remained the buffer at half-time and the game was in the balance.

But in the second half England regained their composure and Elliot Whitehead touched down off a John Bateman offload.

The pass was forward, but the referee awarded the try and Sneyd’s conversion extended the lead to 24-12.

It got worse for France minutes later when Radley scored off Andy Ackers’ smart grubber kick.

Sneyd’s kick was on target again, pushing the score out to 30-12.

The match was stopped for several minutes after a sickening head clash between Kallum Watkins and Alrix De Costa, with the England centre replaced.

In the 56th minute after a quick shift to the right substitute, Jack Welsby put Dominic Young over for a try.

Sneyd kept up his perfect kicking, taking the lead to 36-12.

Young brought up his brace in the 65th minute when he intercepted a pass and ran 80-odd metres to score.

Sneyd added another two points, before France hit back with four minutes left thanks to a try to Arthur Romano.

Tom Burgess was sin-binned for pushing over Pelissier to close out the game.

England 42

Tries: R. Hall (6), R. Hall (12), L. Thompson (24), E. Whitehead (45), V. Radley (50), D. Young (56), D. Young (66)

Goals: M. Sneyd (7), M. Sneyd (13), M. Sneyd (26), M. Sneyd (46), M. Sneyd (50), M. Sneyd (58), M. Sneyd (68)

France 18

Tries: A. Mourgue (29), E. Pelissier (33), A. Romano (76)

Goals: A. Mourgue (30), A. Mourgue (34), A. Mourgue (76)

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John Davidson
John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.