England scrape home against France

They extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches

BY Simon Maguire 20:21 Saturday 4 February 2017, 20:21 4 Feb 2017

England's Ben Te’o scores their first try. Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Defending champions England started the defence of their title with a win but were made to fight to the death as the French ran them close at Twickenham on Saturday.

France started the brighter of the two teams and Camille Lopez slotted an early penalty to give them a 3-0 lead. Owen Farrell converted a score of his own as England responded almost immediately.

France's Camille Lopez kicks a penalty. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Louis Picamoles played like a man possessed and reminded the rugby world of his class with an imposing display throughout. Lopez added two more penalties as the French capitalised on a sluggish start from the hosts.

France's Louis Picamoles and Joe Launchbury of England. Image: ©INPHO/James Cromb

England worked their way back into the game and penalties from Farrell and Elliott Daly brought the sides level at the break.  

Although it was an open match, it was relatively low scoring given the amount of line-breaks there were from both sides throughout.

England's Owen Farrell kicks a penalty. Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The second half picked up where the first left off as both teams looked to run the ball from anywhere.

England took the lead for the first time when Farrell slotted another penalty in the 54th minute.

However, France upped the tempo and after a sustained period of pressure involving multiple offloads, prop Rabah Slimani dived over beside the posts. Lopez converted to give 'Les Bleus' a 16-12 lead with 20 minutes remaining.

Rabah Slimani of France scores a try. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Eddie Jones made a few changes to freshen his side up and one of them, Ben Teo, crashed over in the 71st minute. Farrell added the extras to give the home side a 19-16 which they held on to until the final whistle.

England's Ben Te’o scores their first try. Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

France get a losing bonus point but England can count themselves lucky to open their account with a win. England head to Cardiff next weekend while France entertain Scotland.  

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