France find they are shut out by great white wall
THE Red Roses put in huge defensive shift to beat France on Tuesday and book their place in the World Cup final.
In a tournament that had been dominated by England's attack, it was their defensive effort that was largely responsible for helping seal a place in a fifth-successive final.
The opening 40 minutes saw France have the majority of the ball but the Red Roses put in an incredible 84 tackles to restrict their opponents to just one penalty – converted by wing Shannon Izar.
That came after Emily Scarratt had opened the scoring with a penalty on 17 minutes to have the score locked at 3-3 at halftime.
In a tight game with few try scoring opportunities, Kay Wilson’s break out wide almost led to a try early in the second half before Scarratt slotted her second penalty to nudge England ahead.
A succession of pick and drives near the France line saw prop Sarah Bern crash over for her first try at international level which finally broke the deadlock.
Forced to chase the score, France threw everything they had left in the battle and came close to scoring but a sensational try-saving tackle by Megan Jones out wide kept them out.
The centre then turned match winner as she latched onto a French handling error to score England’s second try and put the game to bed.
Captain Sarah Hunter said: “We’ve done the job that we wanted and every player from one to 23 deserves huge credit.
“Our defence won that game, there was never any concern in our minds that France were going to cross our tryline.
“They came at us, they played well and gave us our toughest test so far but we had the right mindset and fought for every inch out there.”
Hero: Megan Jones