Welwyn trio play their part as England leave it late at HQ to end the year unbeaten
PUBLISHED: 11:53 22 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 22 November 2020
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A penalty from Emily Scarratt with the last kick of the game completed a sensational comeback from England as they beat France 25-23 at Twickenham.
The Red Roses scored 15 points in the last 10 minutes with the skipper’s penalty ensuring the team ended 2020 unbeaten.
Welwyn had supplied three players in the 23-strong team and one of them, Zoe Harrison, scored England’s first try on 16 minutes, taking advantage of a bouncing pass from Leanne Riley before scooping it up and cantering in from 15 metres.
Lark Davies got their second score but Les Bleus, thanks to two tries from Cyrielle Banet and one from Emeline Gros as well as eight points from the boot of Caroline Drouin, gave the visitors a solid-looking lead.
Head coach Simon Middleton unloaded his entire bench on the hour mark, including the remaining former Hobbs Way juniors, Ellena Perry and Helena Rowland, but it wasn’t until those final 10 minutes that the French defence were finally shifted.
Poppy Cleall crossed for her 14th test try before Ellie Kildunne powered over two minutes later.
Scarratt did the rest.
Middleton said: “We had to show our character and resilience and the team found a way to win.
“The game was nowhere near where we’d have liked it to have been in terms of how we wanted it to pan out. That’s international rugby. It’s not always how you want it to be.
“What it’s about then is how you adapt and find ways. This group found a way which is amazing. We’ll learn more from that than winning easy.
“The starting group did well for 60 minutes against a very strong opponent but started to fatigue and our replacements did a great job when they came on.
“We played as a squad and got the job done. It’s great to end the year with a win.”
Katy Daley-Mclean added: “We have had some battles with those girls but that was one of the best performances from a France side I can remember.
“We showed great character and I am really proud of our girls.
“The intensity with which France started caused us a lot of problems but I think our winning edge and mentality is going to be important.
“As much as it wasn’t pretty, it’s still a win in our column, which is crucial heading into a World Cup year.”
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