- England score three tries to win 27-17
- The two sides will meet again on Friday, 19 April
England Students beat France Universities 27-17 to record their first victory over the side in a decade.
During the early stages of the game both sides were equally matched with a penalty kick by Josh Bragman being all that separated them.
It took an impressive break from Jack Johnson to result in the game’s first try with prop, Josh Pieterse, dotting down in the 28th minute to give the visitors a 10-0 lead after the successful conversion.
This opened the game up, with Robbie Smith seizing the opportunity, sprinting down wing to score the second try of the game, Bragman again adding the extras.
The French started to claw themselves back into the fixture with prop Kaabeche Hamza finding a hole in the English defence resulting in a penalty a few phases later- the French gaining their first points, making it 17-3.
This gave the French a second wind, however the English try-line defence remained resolute before another Bragman penalty gave the England students a 20-3 lead going into the half.
France started the second half with a renewed vigour, playing more aggressively and forcing England into more defensive positions.
However a scrum on the French five meter gave Smith with second try, followed by another Bragman conversion.
Multiple replacements resulted in the English losing their structure, and the French scored their first try through Clement Fontaine.
Two minutes before the close Thibault Rampa scored for the French, however this wasn’t enough to give them a win, with the final score 27-17 to England.
“We’re extremely pleased with the result of the game, it shows the dedication that the boys have put in and the consistency they have played with.” said head coach Darren Fearn.
“There were some unexpected plays from some players, such as a try from our prop, but this is what makes the England Students unique, that the boys have found their own moves and is a bit different to a university game.”
Backs coach Mark Matzopoulos said the team now have a chance to go one better win their second clash on Friday.
“Running the numbers, it has been ten years, with 230 boys, and this is our first win on the English side.” explained Matzopoulos.
“We are very proud and have high expectations for the next game, it has been 20 years since we have won in France, maybe we can change that on Friday”.
England Students play their next game on Friday 19th April at Stade Gilbert Santiago in Bordeaux.