France Women 13-19 England Women: Red Roses weather France storm
Last Updated: 02/02/20 3:34pm
England Women held off a massive France fightback to begin the defence of their Six Nations title with a 19-13 win in Pau on Sunday.
England exploded out of the blocks scoring two early tries through Abby Dow and Vicky Fleetwood before France woke up and scored one of their own through Laure Sansus.
France were beginning to flex their muscle, especially upfront putting England under massive pressure. The Red Roses held on though, and against the flow of play, scored their third with a lovely try from Emily Scarratt.
The hosts kept on coming though and set up a thrilling finale with a penalty, making it 13-19 with five minutes to play, however, England's exit strategy was spot on and they survived for the win.
In what had been widely billed as a Grand Slam decider, England took the lead after five minutes when Abby Dow was sent over in the corner and the forwards took over to extend the advantage as Vicky Fleetwood touched the ball down following a powerful driving maul.
A 24th-minute try from Sansus got France back into it and Jessy Tremouliere's penalty made it a two-point game at half-time, but England struck the decisive blow midway through the second period when Amber Reed's offload sent Scarratt racing clear to score.
Resolute defence allowed England to weather an intense spell of pressure with the concession of a solitary Tremouliere penalty in the 75th minute and Simon Middleton's side wound down the clock to silence the majority of the 14,000 crowd at the Stade du Hameau.