England: 12
France: 18

  • Arron Lindop (15),
  • Marcus Qareqare (19),
  • Harry Robertson (39),
  • Harry Robertson (41),
  • Marcus Qareqare (65),
  • Cai Taylor-Wray (72),
  • Cai Taylor-Wray (74)
  • Hugo Garrigues (9),
  • Baptiste Pourchi (21),
  • Baptiste Pourchi (30),
  • Maxime Rostang (45),
  • Lenny Marc (56),
  • Yllan Mongay (62),
  • Baptiste Pourchi (79)

  • George Whitby (4/7)
  • Guilerno Aispuro Bichett (6/7)

Drop goals
  • George Whitby (76)

  • Harry Robertson,
  • Marcus Qareqare,
  • Arron Lindop,
  • Ryan Westerman,
  • Owen Dagnall,
  • George Whitby,
  • Jack Charles,
  • Tom McKinney,
  • William Hutchinson,
  • Kian McDermott,
  • Jake Davies,
  • Lukas Mason,
  • Taylor Kerr.
  • Subs: Cai Taylor-Wray,
  • Archie Sykes,
  • Presley Cassell,
  • Joe Phillips
  • Guilerno Aispuro Bichett,
  • Baptiste Pourchi,
  • Clement Martin,
  • Lenny Marc,
  • Yllan Mongay,
  • Mateo Jimenez-Lopez,
  • Matis Jammes,
  • Alexis Lis,
  • Hugo Garrigues,
  • Felix Aubry,
  • Rayan Bonte,
  • Anthony Munico,
  • Wassim Mouelhi.
  • Subs: Maxime Rostang,
  • Killian Decostes-Buches,
  • Giovanni Descalzi-Ganthier

Match report

Stunning tries, sensational skills, three yellow cards and one red…this was a game that had it all!

From a coach’s perspective, this game probably had too much of everything. Certainly from Paul Anderson’s, as his side overhauled a 16 point deficit in the final quarter to lead 37-36 with only two minutes to go, only to see Avignon’s Marcus Rostang and Baptiste Pourchi produce the play of the match in the final seconds to seal a magnificent victory.  

France had gone 34-18 up on 62 minutes when centre Lenny Marc delivered a wonder pass to send winger Yllan Mongay racing away, full-back Guillermo Aispuro-Bichet converting his sixth from six attempts to make it 36-18.  

Minutes later the game turned on its head, though not for the last time, when Pressley Cassell became the third England player to be sin-binned, but outstanding France centre Clement Martin received his marching orders from referee Cameron Worsley.  

England then hit the French with three incredible tries in just 10 minutes to pull level. Marcus Qareqare’s dazzling footwork and finish made it 22-36, then Cai Taylor-Wray first found himself on the end of superb approach play from Arron Lindop and Qareqare, then soon afterwards in the company of Harry Roberston and Jack Charles who created the space for him to score his second with just five minutes left on the clock.  

Skipper George Whitby converted all three to level the scores at 36-36, then delivered what many thought was the match-wining drop goal as the hooter beckoned.  

But it didn’t sound soon enough for England. On the very last play of the game, Rostang ignored the obvious drop goal option and instead delivered the killer blow by kicking wide for Pourchi to pouch and dive over for his hat-trick try and seal a famous win for France.  

Earlier, both sides showed their intent from the very first play of the match, when two of the biggest players on the pitch – St Helens’ Jake Davies and Carcassonne’s Felix Aubry – launched themselves into a shuddering tackle.  

Both sides too showed plenty of nerves during the early exchanges, but it was France who settled the sooner and after winger Pourchi was stopped short by St Helens full back Harry Roberston, Toulouse Olympique hooker Hugo Garrigues squirmed over from dummy half for the game’s first try. Guillermo Aispuro-Bichet added the extras to give France a deserved 6-0 lead. 

Spurred into action, England almost hit back straight away through Leeds Rhinos winger Qareqare following enterprising approach play from St Helens full-back Robertson and home-boy Lindop. And it was Roberston who, on 15 minutes, executed a short grubber to perfection for Lindop to pounce.   

At times, Roberston and Lindop looked unstoppable, their combination creating room for Qareqare to score wide out to give England an 8-6 lead.  

But the French weren’t phased. Following an England mistake from restart, Aubry set up useful field position and Pourchi found himself on the end of a stunning long pass from Limouxin scrum half Matis Jammes to fly in at the corner.  

Next, outstanding centre Clement Martin did well to get on the outside of winger Owen Dagnall, before drawing Roberston and sending in Pourchi for a superb second. Aispuro-Bichet was again on target from the touchline to give his side an 18-8 advantage.  

Both teams continued to play with real flair and invention, creating countless opportunities. Even when England’s Archie Sykes was sin-binned for a late challenge on stand off Mateo Jimenez-Lopez, France ignored the easy two points on offer just before the half-time hooter – but immediately regretted it when they conceded possession and Robertson ghosted over from a scrum without a hand being laid on him.  

England trailed 12-18 at half-time, but within seconds of the restart were level after Robertson dashed over from half way and Whitby converted.  

England’s lead didn’t last long, as Dagnall was sin-binned for professional foul before Rostang chased his own kick through to touch down and give France the lead once more.  

Then St Esteve forward Killian Descostes-Buches made a punishing run into the heart of the England defence, centre Lenny Marc taking full advantage with another France try. Aispuro-Bichet again converted to make the score 30-18 in his side’s favour, just before the drama of the final quarter unfolded before a thrilled crowd at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.