England v France - six of the best clashes

10th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - England and France, whose rugby union rivalry dates back to 1906, face each other for the 90th time in the World Cup semi-final here on Saturday.

10 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - England and France, whose rugby union rivalry dates back to 1906, face each other for the 90th time in the World Cup semi-final here on Saturday.

*sidebar1*England have won 47 of those clashes and France 35 with seven draws but both sides have enjoyed plenty of highlights during their encounters.

Below are six of the most memorable Anglo-French rugby internationals:   

1977: England 3 France 4 (Twickenham)

This was a particularly important victory for France as it saw them complete the second leg of only their second ever Grand Slam in the then Five Nations.

Led by scrum-half Jacques Fouroux, later a successful coach of the national side, France won thanks to a try from centre Francois Sangalli while England's lone score was a penalty by full-back Alastair Hignell, now a commentator with BBC Radio.

1991: England 21 France 19 (Twickenham)

A Grand Slam decider, the match is now best remembered for a breathtaking French try rather than England's victory.

After England missed a penalty, legendary full-back Serge Blanco ran the ball from behind his own posts before finding right wing Jean-Baptiste Lafond.

Philippe Sella, one of the all-time great centres, carried the move on and released Didier Camberabero.

The fly-half regathered his own chip ahead and then cross-kicked to the centre of the field where left wing Philippe Saint-Andre, now the coach of English club Sale, collected the bouncing ball and evaded the last-ditch tackle of Jeremy Guscott before touching down under the posts.

But England, outscored three tries to one, ultimately won thanks to four penalties from Simon Hodgkinson and a Rob Andrew drop-goal.

1991: England 19 France 10 (Parc des Princes)

A physically bruising encounter saw England win this World Cup quarter-final by enraging France to such an extent they gave away a succession of penalties.

Even the normally cool Blanco, in his final Test, lost his temper to such an extent he punched England wing Nigel Heslop. In the midst of the mayhem, England captain Will Carling and Rory Underwood scored a try apiece.

2003: England 24 France 7 (Sydney)

France will hope this World Cup semi-final is not an omen. Jonny Wilkinson kicked all of England's points, with five penalties and three drop-goals, the eventual champions adapting far better to the rain and wind that made running rugby all but impossible.

France fly-half Frederic Michalak managed just one successful goalkick from five attempts although he did convert the only try of the match, by flanker Serge Betsen.

2006: France 31 England 6 (Stade de France)

France equalled their record winning-margin over England with a result that was never in doubt from the moment Florian Fritz scored a first-minute try.

Just about everything that could go wrong for England did, a succession of basic errors helping France to a victory that also featured tries by backs Damien Traille and Christophe Dominici and 16 points from the boot of scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili.

2007: France 22 England 9 (Marseille)

The teams' last meeting in this World Cup warm-up fixture in August saw France emerge as comfortable winners and raise fresh dounts over England's ability to mount a convincing defence of the Webb Ellis Trophy, the defeat leaving them with a dreadful away record of just one win in 16 matches.

Four penalties from scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde sent France on their way before Yannick Jauzion crowned a fine move with a try.

Wilkinson's three penalties were England's only scores.


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