Women's Six Nations: England lose Six Nations decider to France
Last Updated: 19/03/16 11:49am
England Women were beaten 17-12 by France in their Six Nations decider at Stade de la Rabine.
Played in front of 10,000 fans, England headed into the game looking to win their eighth Grand Slam and first since 2012, but were left to rue the clinical effect of France's driving maul.
England led 7-5 at the break after Lydia Thompson broke four tackles to go over in the corner, with Amber Reed offering the conversion.
France responded through captain Gaelle Mignot who muscled over from close range on the back of a driving maul. The home side then took the lead for the first time as another driving maul saw Audrey Forlani cross the whitewash, and Camile Cabalou sent the conversion through the uprights.
England went over in the second half after Tamara Taylor powered through the defence, but Reed's conversion hit the post to leave the scores locked at 12-12.
With 10 minutes left Mignot had her second try with a another drive from a French line-out taking them over for 17-12.
England fought back, and forced the French to defend for the remainder of the game in front of their fans, but France held out for victory to claim the 2016 Six Nations title.
England's campaign marked a big turnaround from last year's tournament, which saw a relatively inexperienced side finish fourth.
Head coach Scott Bemand knew the game in France would be tough, but was proud of how his side had evolved from last year's tournament.
"It's a tough one to swallow," said Bemand.
"They have done everything asked of them, they showed character and commitment and tried to play our brand against a really tough French team.
"We have to regroup, go back, this group is going to continue to get better will continue to evolve. They have a summer tour and we will dust ourselves off for that."