England edge out France to win Six Nations as Middleton bows out


England edge out France to win Six Nations as Middleton bows out


ngland held off the spirited challenge of France to win their fifth consecutive Women’s Six Nations title with a Grand Slam in front of a record-breaking crowd at Twickenham.

In what was coach’s Simon Middleton’s final game in charge, the Red Rose ran out 38-33 winners.

With 58,498 fans in attendance, top-ranked side England struggled with nerves at first before pulling away from third-ranked France to disappear into the demolish with a commanding 33-0 lead.

Abby Dow scored England’s first try and although Helena Rowland missed the conversion, she made no mistake when captain Marlie Packer and Alex Matthews powered over.

France were also temporarily down to 14 players when Jessy Tremouliere was sent to the sin bin, which also welcomed Rose Bernadou later in the half, helping England to score from a penalty try before Zoe Aldcroft also went over.

Fitting farewell: Simon Middleton will now leave his job in charge of England

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But England took their foot off the gas in the second half and France got on the board when Emilie Boulard scored the opening try before Gabrielle Vernier went through the English defence for a second.

Both teams then scored from rolling mauls to produce it 38-21 to England with 65 minutes on the clock.

With five minutes left, France rallied with two more tries from Emeline Gros and Cyrielle Banet, but Tremouliere missed the first conversion as England held on for another Grand Slam.

Additional reporting from Reuters