France: 0
England: 0

    Marcon, Denat, Gellet, Julien, Remok
    Gildart, Logan, Hewitt, Morris, Leeing

    Miloudi 4/6
    Shorrocks 1/5

Match report

The England Youth side fell to a narrow 28-22 defeat at the hands of their French counterparts in the opening game of their two-Test Easter series in Cahors yesterday. In a close fought contest, England staged a late rally to get within six points of the French but it proved to be a bridge too far for the youngsters, who went into the half-time break 18-4 down.

Both teams showed signs of nerves in the opening stages but it was France who found their composure first, with full-back Amine Miloudi breaking the dead-lock after five minutes when his penalty sailed through the uprights following a high-tackle committed by Jake Shorrocks. It took until the 17th minute for another point to be registered, when French centre Paul Marcon found himself in space out wide following some slick handling play and his try was accompanied by another just minutes later when Daurian Denat crossed over from close range. Miloudi was successful with both conversion attempts giving France a 14-0 lead after just 20 minutes.

Oliver Gildart got the ball rolling for England when he touched down after getting on the end of a 50 meter kick-chase to beat the retreating French defence on the half-hour mark but France responded almost instantaneously when poor defending allowed winger Gellet to score in the corner and take the sides into the interval.

The second-half began with France on the ascendancy again and it took just three minutes for Ben Jullien to power his way through the defence and extend the French lead to 24-4 following another successful conversion. That score ignited a response from the Youth side and a blistering five minutes saw them cut the deficit to 12 points when Jared Simpson’s spectacular 80 meter dash set-up Dave Hewitt to profit from a superb piece of play moments after Jack Logan had profited from some excellent passing play in the back-line.

With England beginning to find their momentum, France scored what turned out to be a crucial score on the 56 minute mark, when Djamel Remok profited from some slack defence. A great run and perfectly timed pass from Kruise Leeming allowed Elliott Morris to score in the corner on the 64 minute mark and Leeming then showed great strength and ability to beat two defenders and score beside the posts just before the final whistle.

“It’s disappointing to lose a game at any level,” said coach Tony Drury. “But there are a lot of positives to take from this game and I think we’ll be a different game come Tuesday. I think some of our guys underestimated the occasion and got caught up in the emotions and that’s due to the lack of experience at this level.

"An international game is a big learning curve and it was a massive step-up for some of the lads but they can take this experience away now and learn from it. France were very quick and they had some good flair players but I think individually we’re a stronger team and we’ll put the result right on Tuesday.”

Pictured: Amine Miloudi takes on the England line.
Photo credit: Romain Maury.

Jared Simpson, Gabriel Fell, Oliver Gildart (c), Elliot Morris, Jack Logan, Dave Hewitt, Jake Shorrocks, Ben Passmore, Luke Waterworth, Joseph Bretherton, Jordan Burns, Elliot Minchella, Oliver Davies, George Milton. Subs: Kruise Leeming, Nick Gregson, Bradley Lawrence, Ashley Robson

MILOUDI Amine, GELLET Fabien, YAHA Fouad, MUNOZ Dorian, MARCON Paul, REMOK Djamel, JOUFFRET Louis, YESA Valentin, AMOROS Mathieu, ZENTRI Mohamed, JULLIEN Benjamin, GOUDEMAND Mickael, MAURY Quentin (c), ZINE Fahed. Subs: DENAT Dorian, CAMBLONG Kenji, JOURDAN Baptiste, NZOUNGOU Levy