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Updated: May 7

The academic version of ‘Le Crunch’ always lives up to its name. It is a special occasion, a one-off test match with the best of the best from both sides of the channel facing off against each other, and today was a special occasion.


The French started the better of the two sides; a lofted pass out to the wing allowed the winger to chip and chase for an early seven-point score.


England had a chance shortly after with a driving maul, but it was turned over. France executed a perfectly weighted 50/22 kick and capitalised off the lineout with a second early try.


Despite the slow start England weren’t backing down. Dynamic backrower Forsythe finished a lovely try after selling the winger with an excellent dummy.


The game slowed down in the middle 20 minutes of the first half, with both sides calming down after the frantic opening stages.


Eventually, the game picked up pace again, with two tries in quick succession for both sides. The backs got involved at both ends and finished off two lovely tries for both teams.


England finished the half the stronger of the two with a powerful driving maul finish to end the half. With the conversion successful, there were only two points in the game.




The French started the second half strong with a dominant set of phases, eventually bashing their way over despite England’s best defensive efforts on their own line.


England responded by taking a three point opportunity to try and close the gap on the French lead.


The French flair was on full flow, with some lovely offloads creating line breaks and chaos in the English ranks, leading to another French try.


The game was back and forth and England came straight back. From a lineout inside the 22’, they kept the ball tight until the French defence shortened up and released Edwards-Giraud for the finish in the corner.


Things didn’t improve much for the French, as their number eight was shown yellow for fighting off the ball.


With the extra man advantage, the Red Rose machine rumbled over from another driving maul try, entering the lead for the first time in the game.


France responded quickly, once again, breaking up the field, entering the England red zone and poaching another one from close range.


With that score, England unleashed their bench with the hopes of finishing off the game with power and pace.



The decision paid off, with Gulley crashing over shortly after from close range, showing that England power from the bench!


France decided to opt for the posts after receiving a penalty inside the England half and closed the gap to just one point.


With two points in it, it was a tight affair; with England giving up a penalty advantage, the French capitalised, breaking down the wing to get another try with only a couple of minutes left on the clock.


With that try, they managed to wind down the clock off the restart and kick it out into touch as referee James blew his full-time whistle.


France secure the win after three years of English dominance, but the England Students put up a fierce performance in a cracking game that was a brilliant advertisement for University Rugby.



England Students:

C. O. Hancock, Fletcher, C. A. Hancock, Ecclesfield, Jeans, Dorrell, Forsythe, Kirkham, Price, Meredith, Pepper, Mathews, McCaig, Moyse, Price-Thomas


Macandrew, Nixon, Gulley, Waddell, Green, Briers, Mounsey, Edwards-Giraud


France Universities:

Castillon, Ratajczak, Cayuela, Huguen, Rinardo, Bouthier, Geneste, Hourcade, Carrie, Arruti, Champ, Pommelet, Van de Ven, Delourmel, Lere


Bru, Mauro, Tonin, Grangier, Rimet, Daguerre, Chalies, Baudet


Referee: Nathan James

Attendance: 532

Star Man: Paul Champ

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