venue: Stade Léo Lagrange, Toulon
22nd April 2014
Full Match Report
France Cadets gained revenge after their Good Friday defeat, edging England Youth 22-14 in Toulon before a feverish 1200-strong crowd. Toulon player Jonny Wilkinson ceremonially kicked off the match, which was also attended by his coach and former France union coach Bernard Laporte.
Both teams picked up where they had left off on Friday, with the opening exchanges fiercely contested. Despite giving ground to Patrice Rodriguez’s spirited Bleuets, the English scored first, through winger Oliver Ashall-Bott on 8 minutes. Despite the early blow, France calmly built pressure and pulled level 11 minutes later when Arthur Romano squeezed in at the corner. Ten minutes later scrum-half Sophien Bitigri kicked a goal to nudge the home side 6-4 in front. Will Dagger hit back to make it 10-6 at the interval.
Three minutes after the re-start the Cadets showed their poise and keenness to turn territory into points when Anthony Delgado slotted a drop goal to cut the lead to three-points. Before the English could regather themselves France were in front as Romano bagged his brace on 41 minutes, rapidly followed by stand-off Alrix Da Costa’s try to complete a decisive 10-minute period. Dagger led the fight back, his converted try bringing the English back to 17-16 with 12 minutes remaining. Bleuets centre Paul Izard released the tension a little with his 62nd minute try and Bitigri’s field goal made it a final score of 22-16 and a drawn series.
Thierry Dumaine, the French Federation’s technical director for youth national teams, declared himself satisfied with the performance. “I am very happy,” he said, “not only with the win but also the way it which it was constructed. In the space of four days the coaching staff have worked really well. The team raised its game, collectively and individually. The English came with a really good quality squad and we showed we’re competitive, which is important for the future.”
Fabien Flovie, Robin Escanuela, Arthur Romano, Alexandre Mickalezyk, Paul Izard, Sophien Bitigri, Fabien Juliien, Levy N'Zoungou, Mathieu Tovena, Lambert Belmas, Franck Maria, Saloty Mendy, Alrix Da Costa. Subs: Paul Seguie, Maxime Garcia, Anthony Delgado, Luc Franco
Lewis Heckford, Oliver Ashall-Bott, Liam Paisley, Ryan Jones, Will Dagger, Rob Fairclough, Morgan Smith, Matthew English, Josh Ganson, Connor Sunderland, Jack Wells, Jordan Lane, Brad Walker. Subs: Danny Walker, Max Dudley, Charlie Weaver, Liam Walsh