A weekend to remember…
This weekend was not a normal weekend of rugby. On Friday the 9th of March, England under 20’s took on France under 20’s in Bezier, France. For those who don’t know, Bezier is in the south of France right in the heartland of French rugby! For many years this area has been renowned for having massive packs of forwards and silky skilled backs.
France were by far the favourites coming off the back of a massive win against Italy. We, on the other hand, had just taken a loss against Scotland. 2 weeks prior, France had beaten Scotland by 60 points. This was shaping up to be a cracker. 11 thousand people packed themselves into Stade de la Meditarrane to witness what was meant to be France’s Six Nations winning weekend. The rain was falling, the wind was gusting down the pitch and we opted to play into the gale in the first half. A tough test as France threw everything at us, but one we managed to absorb. Eventually we scored a very well worked try by Cameron Redpath. We entered the break 10-3 up. Considering the conditions, that was a very strong first half and one we’d need to replicate in the second. We had spoken about the French crowd all week; particularly about the passion they bring when their team is on top. They are the best fans in the world, however when times are tough they are not so loud. The English boys ran off for half time with a spring in their step. But our job was only half done.
We came out for the second half and the rain had stopped falling – but the wind hadn’t disappeared. We used the wind to control the game a little better in the second half, kicking the ball into the corners and making the French play from deep. A penalty here and a penalty there: the score quickly moved up to 19-6. As a group of players we had spoken about how important our finishers (bench) were going to be. They came on with 20 minutes to go and completely killed the game off. The front row replacements were immense, and they really earned their coin. Against a massive French pack, our boys put on a classy performance and worked well as a unit. One to be proud of.
A 22-6 win in Beziers means that it all comes down to the final week, with us having to secure a bonus point win against Ireland, and Wales having to hold France to less than 4 tries. The Six Nations hangs in the balance.
We will be playing at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry at 8pm on Friday. The game will also be shown live on Sky Sports Action (channel 407). Thank you for all your support.
As always have a great week!