Six Nations Game 12 - England vs France (26-18)
England made a slow start, and France took the opportunity of 3 points after three minutes. Then England looked like they were making a break, only to be turned over. They were let off when France knocked on.
Just before seven minutes, David Skrela took an awkward fall after a tackle by Tom Rees [left]. Toby Flood took the penalty to square things up at 3-3.
England put toghether a decent passage of play but then France turned over, and nearly made it across the line - but Les Bleus knocked on to give a 5m scrum just short of the England line. Then it got messy, and France got another penalty - 3-6 up.
The first twenty minutes was rather odd - flashes of brilliance from both sides, but often little mess-ups later. Then another French penalty gave them a 3-9 lead. Then England put some pressure on France, they infringed and Flood's kick at goal went wide. His next attempt in front of the posts was good, to give England 6-9.
France pushed the English defence again, and Chuter was done for coming in from the side - Dmitri Yachvili [right] took the three points, having taken over the kicking dutes, to make it, 6-12.
From the restart, taken by Sebastien Chabal, Mike Tindall made a huge hit and Chabal was penalised for holding on. The penalty made it 9-12. Shortly after a French lineout, they were again pinged for holding on, at the half way line. Flood stepped up at 51m and it just came up short.
The second half was a bit slow to get going, but the England forwards got to within 2m of the line. They were driven back briefly, then it went out to the backs. Captain Mike Catt [left] made a great break, passed out to Flood who went over for a try. He converted his own score to give England their first leat at 16-12.
Chabal was subbed about ten minutes into the second half, he had not been doing much. England gave away another penalty, and Yachvili put over the penalty, to bring them back to 16-15.
Soon after, England gave away another penalty, an Les Bleus took the lead again, 16-18. Then England went on the break again, nearly made it over the line, and forced France to give a penalty away. Shane Geraghty [right], on for Toby Flood, who had a dead leg, and took the points in front of the posts - England 19-18.
Straight after the restart, France gave away another penalty, Geraghty kicked for the corner, the lineout was solid and they went driving for a bit up the pitch. But then Martin Corry was isolated.
They played ping pong several times, then Geraghty got the ball and scythed up the field, the French missed at least two tackles, and he went almost all the way to the line before offloading to Mike Tindall [left]. Shane converted to put England ahead 26-18 with six minutes left. What a memorable bit of play for the young Fly Half on his first cap.
The clock ticked down, and every agonising minute went buy. Finally the ref blew for full time, and Twickenham erupted.
France looked decidedly ordinary. They never really competed. Where were their forwards? Our forwards had a great game, really getting into the French faces. And there was a good mix of experience and raw talent.
So, the tournament is wide open now, all to play for next weekend. Bring on Super Saturday!
Or, read my ten word review.