France: 4
England: 0

  • Maxime Masuaute (35),
  • Paolo Dall Asta (54),
  • Baptiste Pourchi (65),
  • Quentin Malbec (70)
  • Neil Tchamambe (6),
  • Neil Tchamambe (12),
  • Owen Dagnall (23),
  • Leon Cowen (43),
  • Neil Tchamambe (72),
  • Dayon Sambou (80)

  • Enzo Griffier (2/4)
  • Jack Sinfield (4/6)

Drop goals
  • Jack Sinfield

  • Mathis Jammes,
  • Baptiste Pourchi,
  • Maxime Masuaute,
  • Maxence Barbet,
  • Romeo Tropis,
  • Enzo Griffier,
  • Maxime Rostang,
  • Theo Fouque,
  • Nolan Lopez-Buttignol,
  • Sacha Kouassi,
  • Rayan Bonte,
  • Quentin Malbec,
  • Paolo Dall Asta.
  • Subs: Valentin Cols,
  • Wassim Mouelhi,
  • Hugo Garrigues,
  • Alexis Lis
  • Harry Robertson,
  • Owen Dagnall,
  • Dayon Sambou,
  • Jack Smith,
  • Neil Tchamambe,
  • Jack Charles,
  • Jack Sinfield,
  • Ryan Brown,
  • Harvey Smith,
  • Kian McDermott,
  • Nolan Tupaea,
  • Jonny Vaughan,
  • Taylor Kerr.
  • Subs: Thomas Ratchford,
  • Joe Bajer,
  • Leon Cowen,
  • Cobie Wainhouse

Match report

France 20 - 33 England Academy

On a hot and humid in the south of France, Paul Anderson’s side defied the energy-sapping conditions and a tremendous second-half comeback by the French ‘Espoirs’ to record an impressive victory at the Stade Jules Ribet stadium.

Having led 22-4 just after half-time, France pulled back to with two points with just 10 minutes remaining, only for England to find an extra gear just when they needed it most.

Quentin Malbec’s try on 70 minutes, followed by Griffier’s conversion, brought the score to 20-22 and the momentum was seemingly with the Espoirs. But Jack Sinfield’s restart proved too hot for the French to handle and from the scrum St Helens centre Dayon Sambou set up Leeds winger Neil Tchamambe’s hat trick try in the corner to extend England’s lead once more.

Sinfield himself then put the game beyond doubt, popping over a one-pointer to put England two scores ahead with just minute remaining. And right on the hooter, it was Sambou who put the icing in England’s cake with the side’s sixth try on a successful evening in Saint Gaudens.

England had signalled intent and ambition from the off, when in the opening minutes Wigan Warriors loose-forward Taylor Kerr broke clear to feed the long-striding St Helens full-back Harry Robertson. The former Halton Farnworth Hornets junior was eventually brought down by opposite number Mathis Jammes and winger Roméo Tropis deep inside France territory, but England didn’t have to wait too long to open the scoring.

With England’s forwards on top in the opening exchanges, the French found themselves back-peddling in defence and on six minutes the ball was spun out wide for Tchamambe to cross in the right corner. Sinfield was wide with the conversion, but would land two from the touchline before the half-time.

On 12 minutes the ex-Leeds Irish Clovers junior Tchamambe was again in the right place at right time, his Rhinos colleague Jack Smith providing the final pass after good approach work by Robertson. Sinfield’s touchline conversion gave England a 10-0 lead.

The French briefly fought back, forcing first Tchamambe, then Owen Dagnall on the opposite wing, to concede drop-outs. But they failed to take advantage on either occasion, unforced errors letting England off the hook.

And on 23 minutes another unforced error, this time by Baptiste Pourchi at the other end of the pitch, allowed Dagnall to profit from Sinfield’s chip into corner which was fumbled by the French winger. Once again Sinfield lined up another tough conversion attempt; once again the Rhinos half-back nailed it.

Trailing 16-0, France just had to score next – and they did through crafty centre Maxime Masuaute. Robertson had halted a fine break from within his own half by Tropis, only for the entire England defence to go open side from the play-the-ball as Masuaute skipped down the blind side to score in the left corner. Griffier couldn’t land the difficult conversion.

After a relatively loose second quarter it was back to basics when England emerged for the second half, with St Helens prop Leon Cowen taking route one and forcing his way over from close range on 43 minutes. Sinfield added the extras to extend England’s lead to 22-4.

As France hit back once more, determined England’s goal-line defence denied first Sacha Kouassi then Quentin Malbec, but it proved third time lucky for the French when loose-forward Paolo Dall Asta crashed over on 54 minutes to bring his side back into contention. Once again Griffier was wide with the conversion attempt, but his next was from right under the posts after winger Pourchi was somewhat controversially awarded a penalty try for obstruction.  

Then came Malbec’s try, with Griffier’s conversion bringing France to within two points of England. But Anderson’s side showed great resolve when it mattered most to claim a hard-earned and well-deserved victory.

Head coach Paul Anderson said:
“I’m proud of our effort tonight. We were running out of numbers and putting pressure on ourselves at times with mistakes, but we have learned a lot in terms of handling pressure and being able to dig deep in the face of adversity. Our preparation in camp last week definitely helped us there.  

“I’ve got to commend France too. They just kept on coming. It was the kind of test we needed. It got too close for comfort at one point, but we need games like that. We need the challenge.”

Match details



Tries: Tchamambe (6, 12, 72), Dagnall (23), Cowan (43), Sambou (80)

Goals: Sinfield 4/6

Field goals: Sinfield  


Tries: Masuaute (35), Dall Asta (54), Pourchi (65), Malbec (70)  

Goals: Griffier 2/4

Half-time: 4-16  

Full-time: 20-33