France find they are shut out by great white wall

The Rugby Paper - - Women’s World Cup -

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

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