England Women 20
France Women 30
DRYBROOK’S Ceri Large was unable to stop England Women suffering their first loss at Twickenham.
The Worcester fly-half played half of England’s second defeat in this year’s Six Nations and significantly reduced their chances of retaining the championship crown.
The young side scored through Kay Wilson and Hannah Gallagher and the boot of Amber Reed but were unable to compete with the visitors’ impressive five-try display.
The blue’s played the opening period deep in England’s half and their first score came after 12 minutes when Guiglion Elodie dived over in the corner.
England immediately responded through Wilson after Sally Tuson and Gallagher both drove low but were held up just short.
Reed converted from a difficult angle for a 7-5 lead.
Undeterred, the French continued to pressure and following a successful penalty from Agricole, Lucille Godiveau scored their second try.
The centre capitalised on the lucky bounce which resulted from full back Caroline Ladagnous’ chip through.
A Reed penalty minutes later reduced France’s lead as the clock turned 33 minutes but the visitors grabbed a crucial score just before half time when the TMO deemed that Safi N’Diaye had touched down.
France continued their assault straight after half-time with a try from Christelle Chobet, extending their lead to 10-25.
A decent break from Godiveau put Les Blues in a good position for the forwards to push for the line.
England worked hard to gain territory but struggled to break down the French defence until replacement Katy McLean burst down the wing before offloading to winger Wilson who was unfortunate to be forced into touch.
The attack boosted England’s confidence and gave them the upper hand as good forward play and running from Tuson kept the pressure on the visitors.
A knock on from Millar-Mills denied England their second try but the opportunity for points soon followed when Reed scored the penalty which resulted from a yellow for try scoring number eight N’Diaye.
Despite being a man down France continued to push for another score and again proved dangerous out wide when full back Caroline Ladagnous skipped through tackles to cross the line with five minutes to go.
It was England however who had the final say when a storming run from replacement Emily Scott, making her England debut, left her inches short of the line.
The ball was sent in field and Gallagher broke through the French defence to dive under the posts. Reed converted to justly reduce the deficit to 30-20.
Head Coach Gary Street said: “We just made too many mistakes today but we are not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We need to improve and we will come back fighting. All credit to France, they are a good side – potential World Cup winners – and they deserved this win.
“The Six Nations Championship title is slipping away but you have to be realistic because one team can’t it every year. We knew this would be our toughest season ever in the Six Nations and the last two games have underlined that.”
England Women: Lauren Cattell (Saracens); Kay Wilson (Bristol), Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), Amber Reed (Bristol), Sally Tuson (Bristol); Ceri Large (Worcester), La Toya Mason (Wasps) (VC); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Emma Croker (Richmond), Sophie Hemming (Bristol); Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Tamara Taylor (Lichfield); Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (C) (Lichfield). Replacements: Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Laura Keates (Worcester), Roz Crowley (Lichfield), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield), Katy McLean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Emily Scott (Thurrock).
France Women: Caroline Ladagnous (Lons); Jade Le Pesq (Rennes), Elodie Poublan (Montpellier), Lucille Godiveau (Rennes), Elodie Guiglion (Usap); Sandrine Agricole (Rennes), Marie-Alice Yahe (Usap) (Capitain); Hélène Ezanno (Rennes) , Laëtitia Salles (La Valette), Christelle Chobet (Lons) ; Sandra Rabier (Ovalie Caennaise), Nadai Marine De (Montpellier); Coumba Tombe Diallo (Bobigny), Laetitia Grand (Lons), Safi N’diaye (Montpellier). Replacements: Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier), Aurélie Vernhet (Montpellier), Elodie Portaries (Montpellier), Assa Koïta (Bordeaux), Manon Andre (Saint Orens), Jessy Tremouliere (Romagnat), Marjorie Mayans (Saint Orens), Julie Billes (Usap).