Mon, Aug 13, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Tries power France over England

AP, TWICKENHAM, ENGLAND

France's Jean-Baptiste Ellisalde, center, gets the ball out of a scrum on Saturday during a friendly against England at Twickenham Stadium in London. France won 21-15.

PHOTO: AFP

France scored a try in each half on Saturday to beat England 21-15 in the final warm-up match before World Cup squads must be selected.

Former France captain Fabien Pelous, playing in his 111th test to equal Philippe Sella's national record and his first since November due to an ankle injury, beat England winger Josh Lewsey to score in the corner in the 13th minute.

Reserve backrower Sebastien Chabal ran through Lewsey and fullback Nick Abendanon in a 20m run down the right flank to touch down in the 71st and seal the match.

England flyhalf Olly Barkley kicked four penalties from four attempts for 12 points. He is likely to move ahead of the injured Charlie Hodgson (knee) as Jonny Wilkinson's understudy at the Sept. 7 to Oct. 20 tournament in France.

Fringe contenders Ben Kay, Simon Shaw and Lawrence Dallaglio also impressed for England. The return test will be in France on Sunday after tomorrow's deadline to pick the squads.

England coach Brian Ashton was furious with his team for blowing numerous chances in the second half to close out the match, after leading 15-11 at one stage.

"You play in a game like that and work incredibly hard to put yourself into a position to win it by opening up three or four opportunities in the second half and you blow every one of them," he said. "You don't win big games against good sides playing like that. You don't win World Cups playing like that, either.

"It was a very angry dressing room, I hope the messages of today will be taken on board very quickly and not repeated next week," he said.

England hit the front when Barkley kicked two penalties to one from Skrela to lead 12-11 at halftime.

After flyhalf David Skrela missed a 47m penalty attempt straight after the break, France spent time in opposition territory but England's defense was as brutal as it was effective.

When England eventually rolled play upfield, it found France's defense just as impenetrable and had to rely on reserve scrumhalf Andy Gomarsall to kick a 56th-minute drop goal for 15-11.

But France hit back with a penalty to reserve scrumhalf Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, before Chabal, who only minutes before had performed a try-saving tackle, sealed the match with a try in the 71st.

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