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England 36-10 France: Amy Hardcastle and Georgia Roche double up in win for hosts

Amy Hardcastle and Georgia Roche both crossed twice for the hosts as they maintained their unbeaten record against France; Hollie Dodd, Caitlin Beevers and Fran Goldthorp also crossed for tries at the Halliwell Jones Stadium

Last Updated: 18/06/22 7:11pm



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Highlights of match between England Women and France Women.

Highlights of match between England Women and France Women.

Two tries apiece from Amy Hardcastle and Georgia Roche helped set England Women on their way to a 36-10 victory over France in the first match of Saturday’s international double-header in Warrington.

Hollie Dodd, Caitlin Beevers and centre Hardcastle all crossed as England led 16-4 at half-time, with Cristina Song Puche replying for the visitors, who had made most of the early running just before the break.

France’s cause was not helped by Elodie Pacull being sin-binned for a late tackle early in the second half and although they were able to get on the board again through Fanny Ramos, Roche’s double, another from Hardcastle and Fran Goldthorp’s late score put the seal on the win.

Story of the game

England, ranked third in the world behind Australia and New Zealand, were 40-4 winners in their previous meeting with the French in Perpignan in October and were coming off the back of a 32-6 win over Wales but they did not have it all their own way at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The hosts, who handed debuts to Leeds Rhinos pair Keara Bennett and Courtney Winfield-Hill after they missed the Wales game through illness, had plenty of defending to do in the opening quarter as France made a lively start.

It took them 17 minutes to open the scoring, York City Knights second row Dodd wrong-footing full-back Elisa Akpa to claim the first try after being put through a gap by Leeds scrum-half Georgia Roche.

Amy Hardcastle stretched England Women's lead even further against France with a well-worked try

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Amy Hardcastle stretched England Women’s lead even further against France with a well-worked try

Amy Hardcastle stretched England Women’s lead even further against France with a well-worked try

England: Tries – Amy Hardcastle (2), Georgia Roche (2), Hollie Dodd, Caitlin Beevers, Fran Goldthorp; Goals – Tara Stanley (4).

France: Try – Cristina Song Puche, Fanny Ramos; Goal – Elisa Ciria.

The game was still in the balance when England scored two tries in four minutes to establish control. They exposed a gap on the French right to work Leeds winger Beevers over before the strong-running Hardcastle proved unstoppable on a 20-metre angled run to score her first try.

Tara Stanley’s second goal made it 16-0 but France pulled a try back five minutes before half-time through winger Song Puche. However, the visitors suffered a blow four minutes into the second half when prop Pacull was sin-binned for taking out Jodie Cunningham off the ball and England took advantage when record try-scorer Hardcastle forced her way over for her second score four minutes later.

Roche then scored from dummy-half after winger Leah Burke had been hauled down short of the line before substitute hooker Ramos went over for France’s second try and stand-off Elisa Ciria added the goal.

Georgia Roche gets England's second try of the second half to stretch their lead over France

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Georgia Roche gets England’s second try of the second half to stretch their lead over France

Georgia Roche gets England’s second try of the second half to stretch their lead over France

England finished the game on a high, wrapping up the scoring with two tries in the last six minutes through Roche and centre Goldthorp, while Stanley took her goal tally to four from seven attempts.

What they said

England head coach Craig Richards

“In part it was a real good international game. France are always improving; they’re big, strong and physical like we expected, so it was fantastic.

“I just want more consistency. Some of our shape was fantastic, we’ve got a couple of girls who have debuted on top of three who debuted last week.

England Women head coach Craig Richards admits there are improvements to be made ahead of the World Cup after a well-fought win against France

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England Women head coach Craig Richards admits there are improvements to be made ahead of the World Cup after a well-fought win against France

England Women head coach Craig Richards admits there are improvements to be made ahead of the World Cup after a well-fought win against France

“We’ve just got to understand each other a little bit more, but I’m absolutely over the moon with a lot of what we did.”

France player of the match Laureane Biville

“I think we worked really hard in the last week and we really proved we are a very good team.

“We’re still working hard to try to beat this team and now it’s time for focus in the next game, which is at the World Cup.”



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